Defying gravity on Broadway: 'Wicked' makes $2 million in six days

Broadway has finally figured out how to best Hollywood at the grosses game. During Thanksgiving week, the Wizard of Oz-themed musical Wicked grossed $2,086,135, a new weekly record for a musical.

To put that into perspective, the movie adaptation of the Oprah Book Club selection The Road only grossed about $1.5 million nationwide in 111 cinemas over the entire Thanksgiving holiday weekend, and Sony's high-profile animated movie Planet 51 only mustered $1.8 million (akin to Wicked's previous house record) during the same period on more than 3,000 screens. Wicked pulled its $2 mil on one stage in just eight performances.

That's a massive amount of green, and it's also a solid achievement for a musical that's been playing for seven years, but let's not confuse this new ceiling with the illusion of runaway success. See it more as a new ceiling for the price of live performance. That $2 million doesn't mean more people are going to the theater. It just means that more than ever, you can't afford it.

The main reason that a successful Broadway musical can make $2 million in a week is because they now charge so much for a seat. In Wicked's case, that's a standard top ticket price of $131.25 a pop. The show also charges an astonishing $250 for each "premium seating" ticket (plus $12.25 in Ticketmaster fees, not included in the grosses).