Already the most expensive production in Broadway history, when Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark closes on Jan. 4, it also will have racked up historic losses that The New York Times pegs as high as $60 million. That’s compared to the $5 million to $15 million usually lost by “flops,” which, granted, typically cost far, far less than the $75 million musical.
Several investors tell the newspaper they’ve not been repaid any of the money they’ve put into the show, and producer Michael Cohl concedes some of them may lose all of their investments unless Spider-Man is profitable in Las Vegas, where it’s expected to re-open in 2015.
While the musical, until relatively recently, had grossed $1 million or more a week in ticket sales, for a total of $703 million since November 2010, it costs about $1.2 million a week to produce. Receipts fell below $1 million in late August and never bounced back, plummeting as low as $621,960 at one point. The Times adds to that payments on multimillion-dollar priority loans from investor Norton Herrick, and Cohl and the other lead producer Jeremiah J. Harris.
“I think the investors will eventually see something, but look, this is showbiz,” Cohl told the newspaper. “I hope the show will be a huge hit in Vegas and Germany and on an arena tour, and then I expect them to see some money back. But it will be a long road and take a long time.”
The closing of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark will also leave the 1,900-seat Foxwoods Theatre vacant. Although the $30 million Australian musical King Kong has been named as a possible replacement, the production is also considering the Broadway Theater.