There may really be no such thing as bad publicity. Despite a litany of negative headlines, damning reviews, late-night ridicule, and a rocky financial start, Broadway's Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark just set a new box office record. The maligned musical's big haul comes just in time for the one-year anniversary of the show's first performance, a disastrous preview on Nov. 28, 2010. It's an unlikely milestone for the musical, which seemed destined to go down as one of the biggest Broadway flops of all time. Here's a look at the surprise success, by the numbers:
Spider-Man's box office gross last week, a house record at the Foxwood Theatre, says Reuters
Tickets sold for the show since it first began previews in 2010, according to Entertainment Weekly
The record-setting amount it took to produce Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. For the first time, says Patrick Healy at The New York Times, the show's producers now predict they will recoup their entire investment from the show's Broadway run.
$5 million to 15 million
Typical cost of most Broadway musicals
Operating expenses per week to keep Spider-Man running, says The New York Times
$100,000 to $300,000
Net income that Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark was earning each week, before Thanksgiving week's surge in revenue
Years the show would have to run to recoup its initial investment if it continues netting $100,000 to $300,000 per week, says Healy. Recent tourist-friendly musicals like The Little Mermaid and Shrek the Musical ran for just over a year.
Current top price for a ticket, according to Ticketmaster
Average ticket price for a performance last week, according to Broadway World
Average ticket price for a performance last December, says Catherine Rampell at The New York Times
Total performances the show has had so far
Total preview performances Spider-Man had, a record
Number of times the show stopped during its first preview performance. During one mishap, the actor playing Spider-Man was left dangling over the stage. At another point, a cable snapped, hitting actress Natalie Mendoza in the head, says Hermione Hoby at the U.K.'s Guardian. The actress, who played Arachne, suffered a concussion and quit the show a month later.
Number of times the show's opening night was rescheduled. Fed up with delays, critics broke tradition and reviewed the show in February while it was still in previews, calling it "among the worst" productions of all time. The show finally officially opened in June, after three weeks of creative retooling. David Rooney at The Hollywood Reporter said it was still "a bloated monster with bad music."
Sources: Broadway World, Entertainment Weekly, Guardian, Hollywood Reporter, Newser (2), NY Times, (2, 3, 4), Reuters, Ticketmaster