In spite of poor reviews, the Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark musical has been playing to packed houses. It is way too early to call the show a success, but it did earn $1.7 million in its second week, which is well above the $1.2 million it needs to make to keep the lights on. According to the AP, the show is still working through numerous discounts and promotions that are preventing the show from earning its $1.9 million per week maximum. It is still far from certain that the pricy musical will be able to pay off its huge staging costs, but so far at least family audiences appear to be embracing the show, which was the third-highest grossing production on Broadway last week after Wicked ($1.83 million) and The Lion King ($1.74 million).
The Spider-Man musical also brought in more last week than that Tony Award magnet that is The Book of Mormon, which earned $1.2 million. Though it should be noted that the Mormon musical is staged in a much smaller theater, and its success is better measured by its higher average ticket price of $138.90 versus $110.20 for Spidey’s show.
Although the critics have acknowledged that the Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark musical had been improved by changes made after the departure of director Julie Taymor (The Lion King) and the hiring of comic writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, reviews of the Spider-Man musical were still brutal (see “Can Green Lantern & Spidey Top Bad Notices”).
But audiences are evidently responding to the show, which has beefed up the Spider-Man/Mary Jane romance and even includes a version of the famous upside down kiss from the Spider-Man movie.