Saturday 17 March 2018

Bono and the Edge's musical Spider-Man to close on Broadway

Ali Hewson, Bono of U2, Eve Hewson and Jordan Hewson attend 'Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark' Broadway opening night at Foxwoods Theatre on June 14, 2011 in New York City
Ali Hewson, Bono of U2, Eve Hewson and Jordan Hewson attend 'Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark' Broadway opening night at Foxwoods Theatre on June 14, 2011 in New York City
A still from Spiderman: Turn off the Dark
Reeve Carney and Jennifer Damiano on stage at "Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark" Broadway opening night in 2011
A view of actors Reeve Carney and Jennifer Damiano during curtain call for the "Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark"

Broadway is turning the lights off forever on the Spider-Man musical early next year.

The producers' decision marks the final chapter in the story of the most expensive theatrical show ever that shook off a troubled launch to become a hit, but is now limping away to Las Vegas.

Rick Miramontez, a spokesman for the show, said Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark would end its run in January and next appear in Vegas. "Further details will be announced in the weeks to come," he said.

The show's box office take - once putting it among Broadway's biggest earners - sprung a leak this summer and never recovered. It last broke the million-dollar mark in mid-August and has limped through a dismal autumn. Producers had said it needed to make $1.2 million (€700,000) a week just to break even.

Last week the show took in just $742,595 (€405,000,000), less than half its $1,543,508 potential, despite a Foxwoods Theatre that was three-quarters full. The musical, with songs by U2's Bono and The Edge, is now routinely discounting tickets and a move to a smaller venue does not make financial sense.

The lease to the massive Foxwoods changed hands in May from Live Nation Entertainment to the Ambassador Theatre Group for about $60 million (€35m). The new owner may end up with a new tenant - A musical of King Kong that is currently in Australia.

Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark was Broadway's most expensive show with a price tag of $75 million dollars (€43.5m) and had a rocky start, with six delays in its opening night, injuries to several actors, a shake-up that led to the sacking of original director Julie Taymor and critical drubbing.

It began previews in late 2010 but finally officially opened in mid-June 2011, long after many critics had already tired of the delays and written crushing reviews. Its number of performances recently crossed the 1,000 mark.

A future home for the show has swirled for months as its earnings dipped. A touring version had been initially discussed but a permanent home always seemed a better fit for a show that has loads of aerial acrobatics, high-tech sets and digital projections.

One thing that has stood in the way of a move away from Broadway was the legal uncertainty that clouded its future. Ms Taymor, the original Spider-Man director and co-book writer, was sacked in 2011 after years of delays, accidents and critical backlash.

She hit the producers, led by Michael Cohl and Jeremiah Harris, as well as Glen Berger, her former co-book writer, with a copyright infringement lawsuit, alleging they violated her creative rights and had not compensated her for the work she put into the show. The producers' filed a counterclaim asserting the copyright claims were baseless. A settlement was announced in April.

The show may not have made a profit but it left one box office milestone behind. In January 2012, the comic book musical took in a whopping $2,941,790 (€1.4m) over nine performances, the highest single-week gross of any show in Broadway history.

Online Editors

Entertainment Newsletter

Going out? Staying in? From great gigs to film reviews and listings, entertainment has you covered.

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment