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West End Box Office


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#11 DanielWhit

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 02:37 PM

The simple answer is curiosity - it would be good if we could see what the takings are, but agree it's only one piece of a very large puzzle.

#12 KevinUK

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 11:00 PM

I think they should be published. We know how much a film makes at the box office, we know how many tickets are sold at gigs and concerts, and we know various other box office takings. Why should theatre not follow suit? I don't think we need to know monetary figures, but audience figures would be good. Yet any release of weekly information I feel would have some sort of impact on the industry.
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#13 Epicoene

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 10:33 AM

Are box office takings commercially sensitive ? If they were disclosed then what would be the negative impact be on that theatre ?

Talking about money is the last great taboo in this country. Reading Rupert Everett's startlingly frank autobiog which goes into great detail on his sex life and drug taking and personal life it is noticeable that he doesn't once mention what he was paid to do a particular film or play - this is a notable omission because as often as not after some failed film or stage play he ends up living in the penthouse suite of some hotel in Hollywood for the next year so you don't feel any sympathy at all for him over his failures. He is the rule rather than the exception, no "tell-all" autobiography ever tells you all about the money.

#14 Honoured Guest

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 10:41 AM

It's a long long time since I read them but Jean Rhys's letters and novels have no such omissions. She was the best, most honest.

#15 Jon

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 11:21 AM

I wonder if releasing the numbers would have an impact on the success of shows? I would like to see the numbers just to compare it with Broadway takings.

#16 Epicoene

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 01:54 PM

I am very interested in money. How much do the NT pay their actors ? Equity minimum ? How much would Simon Russell-Beale be getting for Privates on Parade ? I don't think I'd even be able to guess.

#17 KevinUK

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 06:23 PM

Well, if box office takings were disclosed, I assume there would be a greater pressure to put bums on seats, meaning shows would probably enter into a constant state of discounting. Based on seating prices, it is possible to know the upper limit gross per show, so being able to calculate a percentage of this could have an adverse effect. for example, a show that doesnt discount and sells 50% of tickets is more likely to reduce in audience figures as those in the know would assume discounts and possible closure arent far behind.

Then you have directors and producers trying to gain and maintain a reputation - surely published figures would help understand from a business view who can 'bring in the crowds'. Then there's the idea that in order to do this, big named stars are essential...

Many industry cons, but the advantage I see for us is possibly cheaper tickets.
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#18 mallardo

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 07:30 PM

We assume that London producers don't publish financial figures because they don't want us to know how badly some shows are doing.  But perhaps it's the opposite.  Producers don't want to reveal just  how well they're doing.  Compare the salaries for actors and backstage personnel on Broadway to their counterparts in the West End - there's no comparison.  Broadway professionals are SO much better paid and have so many more benefits.
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#19 Matthew Winn

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 10:24 PM

View Postmallardo, on 21 January 2013 - 07:30 PM, said:

But perhaps it's the opposite.  Producers don't want to reveal just  how well they're doing.  Compare the salaries for actors and backstage personnel on Broadway to their counterparts in the West End - there's no comparison.

A few shows do very well but the overwhelming majority close at a loss, so although it seems as though the producers of some shows are raking in a fortune you need to take into account that most of that money is going back to the investors and the rest is going into keeping the business running when dealing with the flops.

Also, actors aren't exactly low-paid staff. Someone coming straight out of training into an ensemble role in the West End will immediately be earning more than twice as much as the median for their age, and nearly three times the median in a larger venue.
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#20 Jon

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 12:38 AM

View PostMatthew Winn, on 21 January 2013 - 10:24 PM, said:

A few shows do very well but the overwhelming majority close at a loss, so although it seems as though the producers of some shows are raking in a fortune you need to take into account that most of that money is going back to the investors and the rest is going into keeping the business running when dealing with the flops.

Unlike on Broadway, few shows ever say when they recoups, only ones in recent years that have announced their recoupment are Wicked and Hairspray.

I do wonder how shows are doing when they are TKTS a lot or do a lot of discounting, Billy Elliot's a recent example as they were offering top price tickets between January-February for £20,30 and 40 and to me, that's not a good sign for a big show if they're offering tickets at those sorts of prices.




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