You make the call: which show would you produce? has been a lot of talk about the economic challenges facing Spider-Man lately.  So much so, that another show based on a mythical figure has sneaked down our metaphoric chimney without much fiscal fanfare.

That show, which opened on Sunday, is Elf.

Based on the super-popular movie starring Broadway Star Will Ferrell (yes, we’ve hijacked his status since Will made his Bway debut a year and a half ago), Elf is delivering us the gift of performances for 9 weeks only.

How do the Producers manage those economics, you ask?

Well, as Variety reported from behind its pay-walled tower, they don’t.

First up, because they’re movie people, they don’t talk money because they don’t have to. On “Elf,” there aren’t another two dozen producers they need to answer to. But a reliable estimate is that “Elf” has been mounted as a pretty average Broadway musical with $500,000-to-$600,000 in weekly running costs for its 15 musicians and 22-member cast, and capitalization that is only slightly under the typical $10 million-$12 million mark.  In other words, “Elf” would be extremely fortunate to recoup in nine months of sold-out perfs, much less nine weeks.

Well, just because they are movie people, doesn’t mean they’re not smart.  Variety continues . . .

Obviously, the makers of “Elf” have their eye on the future. The big plan: “to extend the brand of the film,” says Michael Lynne, principal of Unique Features (and former New Line founder, with Bob Shaye).

Makes sense to me.

In fact, that’s got my Spidey-sense tingling.

Because Spider-Man, at $60 mil plus, is quite obviously banking on a brand-building success beyond Broadway, maybe in a slightly different way than Elf, but still.

So, here are two brand new Broadway shows with two break-the-mold financial models.

You know what that means?

Yep, it’s time to play the game that they used to play during NFL football games . . . You Make The Call!

The question is . . . which one would you rather produce?

Go ahead, pick one.

And don’t be a little girl about it and say, “Neither.”  In my office, when anyone tries to wimp out like that, we play a game called, “Ok, there’s a gun to your head and you have to make a decision.”

So, imagine you have the funds to produce both . . . which would you back?

Comment your answer below with a why.  Email subscribers, click here to visit the blog and make your own call.

And remember . . . you gotta pick one.  Just one.  It’s our own version of Fantasy Broadway!!!

(If you want to see a Shakespearean version of You Make The Call, click here.)

Related Posts


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.