They say the first step in the grieving process is denial. If that’s true, then we’ve been grieving the closing notice of Peter and the Starcatcher (announced late Friday afternoon) for months now.
See, the thing is, we just didn’t want to see it coming. Peter and the Starcatcher was never a box-office champ. In its opening week (week ending 4/15/2012), the show nabbed $310,236 at 89.3% capacity. That’s pretty decent for the 1,064 seats at the Brooks Atkinson, but it represented only 44.53% of Peter’s potential gross. Despite critical raves for the show, both gross and capacity dropped the following weeks ($286,477 for the w/e 5/06/12, 62.3% for the w/e/ 4/29/12). It looked like Peter wasn’t meant to fly.
But then Tony nominations came out, and Peter, like most nominated shows, saw a steady build in momentum. Fueled by nine nominations and five wins, Peter had a record week on 7/01/12, with a gross of $687,525 and 95.8% capacity.
Unfortunately, that week was also the last week of Christian Borle’s Tony-winning turn as Black Stache. Once Borle departed, the box office started declining again. Capacity since then has averaged about 70%. Grosses have dropped consistently for 9 of the past 12 weeks. This past week, Peter and the Starcatcher had a $46,303 increase in gross and a 5.9% increase in capacity — maybe because audiences are realizing they have limited time to see it — but it still only took in $340,839 at a capacity of 68.6%.
Still, all this time, it didn’t feel like Peter and the Starcatcher was going anywhere. The show was such a critical darling that we really hoped the mediocre box office take… well… wouldn’t matter. The show has Disney backing it. Surely they could stand to lose money for the greater good, right?
What did we tell you: denial.
Alas, we’ll have until January 20 to catch Peter and the Starcatcher on Broadway (a national tour will begin in August). If producers are wise, they’ll find a way to get Christian Borle back in for a few weeks before closing, to let the show go out on a win.