Friday, March 04, 2011

Out of the Past, Showbiz Scramble: Bloomberg Debunks Spiderman's "Great Biz" ... Feld Folds Coney Canvas ... UniverSoul Nixes Pimp Panorama ... CDS Loves Russia $$$

First published March 4, 2011

"Forget everything you've read about Spider-Man doing great business at the box office," writes Jeremy Gerard in Bloomberg News, proceeding to spill the beans on how this show was ineptly hatched (sainted director Julie Taymor "was not about to be pushed around by a bunch of producers"); how it will take it at least 12 years and more to just earn back its $65 investment before it can start turning a profit; and why -- this one baffles me -- it has been taking in only 75 percent of its potential sales ... Rare is the musical that can survive a unanimous chorus of scathing notices (the case so far, but opening night, which may deliver a sliver of praise, yet to happen). Wicked was trounced by most of the critics, but not all. When I look at the Broadway League website which reports on weekly sales, what I see for Spider Man appears to indicate full houses. Evidently, I do not understand these stats in depth.

UniverSoul Nixes Pimps, Drug Heads, Hookers and Christian redemption. Public outrage boiled over after one woman with children complained about the sleazy finale, alleged by UniverSoul, defending its controversial sermons, only to teach women a way out of coerced hookerhood through Christ. Production featured strippers, misogyny, coke sniffing, and, I suppose, graphic allusions to retail sex. The whole sordid spectacle causing some people, at last, to ask the Big Question: What is circus? NO, that is not, they are answering back. So maybe the public will re-learn to appreciate what is circus, thank you, UnverSoul ...

Ringling Ditches Coney Island. No surprise to that, I never could imagine a nearly 3-month run turning a profit for the Feld coffers. Circuses don't cut it that way in this country. Never have. Never made sense. NBC News reporting the show drew 250,00 people to Coney the last two summers. Let's slice off 50,000 (allowing for likely spin), and figure, on average, each of the two tours pulling in a hundred thousand customers (I will kindly assume that all paid for their tickets, ha ha). How many shows per summer? Maybe, say, based on about, conservative estimate, seven shows a week, multiplied by 10 for a ten week frame: total of 70 shows, right? Here's my adding machine: 100,000 divided by 70 = 1,428 customers on average per show. Have you more accurate figures? (Steve Copeland?) I will miss Ringling at Coney; both shows were well worth the visit, the first opus, Boom-A-Ring, simply terrific.

Cirque du Soleil finds love, admiration and money in Russia. "We have never developed a market at the pace we are doing in Russia right now," says show's executive head, Daniel Lamarre to Reuters. No surprise here. After all, Cirque's artistic roots, I have long argued, lie deep in the old Soviet Union circus scene, so the Russians should naturally respond to what Guy Laliberte is bringing them with lavish embellishments. Cirque plans to sink $57 million into a new show to open in Moscow next year, "to test the ground before launching a permanent show in Russia by 2015," states Lamarre. The new show, Zarkana (I rather like) said to be the most expensive the company had produced to date. "If we have the success that I think we will have," promises Lamarre, "this will definitely confirm the means for a permanent presence." ... They need a substitute market for sinking Dubai in the desert...



Jack Ryan said...


Several of the NYC theater blogs have been reporting that "Spiderman" has been turning up regularly at the TKTS half-price booth.


Showbiz David said...

Now there's the proof. I guess I was right in trusting Bloomberg.
Thanks, Jack.



Sorry that I missed you in Sarasota.

I was there the week before you.

Michael Cohl, from Toronto, is the current producer of "Spidey-The Musical".

He is the most successful rock promoter in history!

Worldwide tours of the Rolling Stones, U2, etc.!

I think that his vision is to eventually tour "Spidey" in ARENAS worldwide.

Jack Ryan said...

To Frank Curry:

Sorry I missed you, too, Frank. Couldn't get to the promoters' reunion because of a family obligation. So went down the following weekend.

Good to hear from you.


(Thanks, David, for allowing us to email on your blog!)

Showbiz David said...


Consider it my hosting pleasure!

brit said...

Re Ringling Gold at Coney Island. Not having a show there this year may well be because there is no show to put in. In 2009 it was the second year of "Boom-A-Ring" while in 2010 it was the first year of "Illucination". Maybe Ringling will go back next year with the new Gold Unit show.

Terry Willard