Broadway celebrates record-breaking Thanksgiving, with both Disney shows setting highs

Holiday shopping may have been a bit of a bust over the Thanksgiving weekend, but Broadway simply gobbled up cash.

The Broadway League released data Monday showing the 36 plays, musicals and special events on the Great White Way earned more than $34.1 million over the week ending Sunday, an increase of $2.6 million from the same week last season. Attendance was at 284,569, or up 23,513 from the last Thanksgiving weekend. Both are all-time highs.

Both of Disney's Broadway shows — "The Lion King" and "Aladdin" — broke house records, with the musical about big cats in Africa drawing $2,422,718 over eight performances at the Minskoff Theatre and the one about a genie pulling in $1,759,955 at the New Amsterdam Theatre. "Wicked" earned $2,432,132 over nine shows.

In the battle over Broadway hunks, High Jackman's "The River" was sold out at the small Circle in the Square theater's 696 seats and earned $906,275. Bradley Cooper's "The Elephant Man" attracted $958,970 at the also sold-out 774-seat Booth Theatre.

"The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time," the thrilling adaptation of Mark Haddon's best-selling novel about a 15-year-old boy with Asperger's syndrome, had its best week ever with a haul of $952,107. "Cinderella," starring Keke Palmer in the title role and welcoming "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" cast member NeNe Leakes to the company, took in $1,115,935. And "The Illusionists," a show featuring seven magicians, grossed more than $1 million for its first seven performances.

Other shows may still show the full effects of TV exposure on Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, including "Honeymoon in Vegas," ''A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder," ''The Last Ship," ''On the Town" and "Side Show."

Sting's "The Last Ship" actually slipped $38,646 at the box office over the week and its audience lost 800 ticket-buyers to 6,418. Those numbers will likely change when Sting goes into the musical starting Dec. 9.

So far, this season's total haul stands at more than $701 million, a 13.1 percent increase over the $620.5 million earned at this time last season. Attendance is also about 13 percent higher, going from last season's 5,948,812 at this point to 6,748,365 last week.