Movies down. Broadway up.

I’ll admit it, sometimes I get a little jealous of our sister industry out there in La-La Land.  After all, it’s easy to think that Hollywood’s older but smaller brother known as Broadway has it a lot tougher in today’s economic and cultural market.

But do we?

According to the end of year figures released from Tinseltown, they’ve got trouble with a capital B that stands for Box Office.

According to this NY Times article, Hollywood’s gross box office receipts are down $500 mil, or about 4.5%.  And attendance has dropped a gruesome 5.3%, which, combined with the 6% drop the industry saw in 2010, equals a double digit drop that makes our recent attendance woes seem trivial.

A 10% drop in attendance in 2 years?  Somebody should lose their job over that.

Why the decline?  There are a lot of reasons, of course, and I’m not an expert on the business of film.  But from a bird’s-eye view, I chalk it up to a lack of scarcity.  Movies are everywhere now.  You can download, stream, rip, drip just about anything . . . . on your TV, laptop, iPhone, iPad, kneepad . . . whenever, wherever.  The two dimensional form of entertainment is here in abundance.  The market is saturated.

You know what isn’t everywhere?

Broadway.  Live entertainment.  First class, limited seating, a different experience every night, theater.

Sure, all of the things I just mentioned above are the same things that make our industry so challenging.  But they are also what make it more rare.

And maybe, just maybe, the unfortunate decline in the stock price of Hollywood means that what we’re selling is on the way up.

I’m bullish Broadway.  The Producer’s Perspective says:  Strong Buy.


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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.