‘Spiderman’ Topples ‘Wicked’ for Highest Weekly Box Office Gross Record

“Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” has broken Broadway records by bringing in the highest single-week gross of any show in Broadway history. The show earned nearly $3 million over nine performances, besting the previous record of $2.2 million that was set by “Wicked” last year over eight performances.

Costing around $75 million to produce, “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” also is noted for being the most expensive Broadway performance ever. Another record it holds is for most number of previews, at 182. The show is performed at the Foxwoods Theatre, which is the largest Broadway theatre and has 1,930 seats. The average ticket price for the show is $169.31, according to the trade group Broadway League.

With music and lyrics by Bono and the Edge from U2, the popular show has had a somewhat tumultuous career since it began performances in November 2010. Following a harsh critical reaction to the initial previews, the show was suspended and revamped, and original director Julie Taymor left the production. Critical reviews of the revised version of the show were slightly better, but were still mixed, and praise mainly focused on the elaborate stunts and special effects that contributed to the high price tag of the production.

Most of the early press of the show, however, came from the highly publicized injuries sustained by cast members during rehearsals and previews. The worst injury came when stunt performer Christopher Tierney fell over 20 feet into the orchestra pit when his safety cord and harness were not connected during a preview show in December 2010. Tierney was hospitalized but returned to the show the following year.

Despite the sometimes harsh reviews and the late-night talk show jokes at the production’s expense, the show has been extremely commercially successful. But the New York Times reports that the show averages a net income of $100,000 to $300,000 a week. Those numbers, coupled with the fact that the show has a weekly running cost of $1 million, means the show would have to continue for at least five years to recoup the $75 million spent so far. Most Broadway shows cost between $5 million and $15 million to produce.