If you had asked us a couple of months ago what the hardest ticket to get this fall would be, we would have probably said Craig Wright’s Grace. It’s a new play with a superstar cast (Paul Rudd, Ed Asner, Michael Shannon, and Kate Arrignton) that appeals to locals, out-of-towners, theater-people, and non-theater people alike. That pretty much gives it an edge over every fall show so far. But grosses haven’t been nearly as high as we expected. As in, not sold out at all. And it’s an affordable ticket.
Let’s take a look at the weeks leading up to last week’s opening:
|Week Ending||Gross||Capacity||Average Ticket|
The first week only had three performances, but the next few weeks were just okay in terms of grosses and capacity. Musicals usually do better than plays, but plays with stars often sell out, so it’s surprising that Grace is bringing in numbers on par with the lower grossing musicals like Bring It On and Chaplin. Paul Rudd is arguably the biggest star in a straight play right now. Grace is the only new play this season so far. The only other non-revival straight plays are War Horse, which grossed $646,331 last week, and Peter and the Starcatcher, which grossed $422,517. And both of those shows are on their way out. It practically has no competition. It should be a no-brainer, right? Yet the week ending October 7 it was in the bottom 5 in terms of gross and average ticket price.
The reviews for Grace were mixed and aren’t likely to have a substantial effect on the box office, though this past week did see a slight increase in sales, which will probably pick up even more around the holidays, so when the show ends its limited run on January 6, it may go out on a high note. But ultimately, we don’t think this will ever be a tough ticket to get. Our advice to the marketing team: start playing up the fact that Paul Rudd appears in boxers. That’ll sell tickets.