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That’s Gross: A Streetcar Named Disaster

Truth time: we didn’t see the latest revival of A Streetcar Named Desire. Somewhere between the tepid reviews and reports of audience “woo’ing” during the rape scene, we kind of lost interest. And judging from the see-sawing box office, it seems like lots of other people felt similarly. This Streetcar production was a flop.

Streetcar opened April 22, 2012, capping off a week that saw them fill the Broadhurst house to 79.6% capacity and take in a total gross of $311,556. Now, that’s a week that consisted of preview performances, leading up to an opening night during the height of the spring opening season just days before the Tony eligibility cutoffs. It’s likely that the majority of the tickets that week were comps, with the average ticket price coming in at $41.88.

The week after opening, the average ticket price rose to $62.84. It stayed within $5 of that price for most of the the rest of the run. Capacity, on the other hand, dropped. The week ending April 29, it fell to 62% (a 17.6% decrease). The following week, ending May 6, resulted in another drop in capacity of 0.3%, down to 61.7%. A more expensive ticket plus a lower capacity does not equal a huge improvement in sales.

But then Streetcar had a weird week. For some reason, during the week ending May 13, everything was up. Capacity increased 12% to 73.7%. Sales saw an $86,887 bump up to $446,069. Producers quickly announced an extension. The limited run originally set to close July 22 would now spend five more weeks on Broadway, closing August 19.

They spoke too soon. The next four weeks in Streetcar’s sales were a total disaster. By the week ending June 10, Streetcar was at its lowest capacity and gross ever: 50.9% and $299,235 — that’s 29.46% of its potential gross.

Streetcar promptly cancelled its summer extension. Closing would in fact be on July 22. Surprise surprise.

With only six weeks remaining of its run, things started to shift and Streetcar started picking up some box office. Capacity rose steadily each week — first by 2.8% (the week ending June 17) and eventually by 13.5% (the week ending July 15). Grosses also steadily increased, as did average ticket price. Maybe it was summer vacationers itching to see Blair Underwood? Maybe it was the fact that only a handful of plays are really left running on Broadway? Maybe it was the fact that it was closing? Whatever the case, Streetcar was on the upswing.

By the end of the run last week (week ending July 22), Streetcar took in a total gross of $614,897 at a capacity of 84.7% with an average ticket price of $77.65.

Those would be good numbers… if it were the beginning of Streetcar’s run. But the truth of the matter is, the slight improvement over the past six weeks was too little, too late. Even at its height — at the last week of its run — Streetcar only took in 59.76% of its actual gross potential. That’s not enough to make it a hit, or to recoup. With that in mind, we’re seriously wondering about the viability of the planned London production, which is slated for the fall. Goodness knows, things play differently on that side of the pond. We’ll keep our eyes on this one — and our wallets closed.

Grosses are provided courtesy of The Broadway League. Click here to read this week’s complete list of grosses.

More from NineDaves and LovelyLinda can be found on their respective blogs.

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