Despite Snub Aida Rakes It in at the Box Office
Disney’s version of Verdi’s Opera Aida regularly grosses over $800,000 a week at the Palace, filling 95 percent of the theater's 1,784 seats. Though Disney will not comment on financial matters, production sources put the show's advance ticket sales at a hefty $13 million to $14 million. The box office is said to take in more than $100,000 a day, reported The New York Post.
The obvious answer for this success, according to NYP is Disney's brand name and marketing prowess are an unbeatable combination.
But the NY based daily also says that the most valuable weapon in Disney’s Aida is word-of-mouth.
Another factor is Elton John's name above the title. Not long ago, ticket buyers thought he was in the show. They don't anymore, Disney sources say, but his music is still a selling point.
On the marketing front, Aida is reaping the benefit of an extremely shrewd ad campaign linking it to Disney's smash hit The Lion King, as well its long-running Beauty and the Beast.
The ad features the logos of the three shows, with a number to call for tickets. The tag line reads: "Three hit shows. One hot line."
Here's the genius of that ad: Most people are calling to buy tickets to The Lion King. Trouble is, good seats aren't available until a year from now. A lot of people can't or are unwilling to wait that long, so they purchase tickets to another show instead. And since they're already on the Disney line, already in the Disney loop that other show is going to be either Aida or Beauty and the Beast.
"That phone line effectively cuts people off from anything but a Disney show," says one Broadway producer. "It's one-stop shopping."
But all the marketing money in the world can't turn a show that audiences don't like into a hit. And the folks involved in Aida believe they deliver the goods.
Robert Falls, the director, says audiences are drawn to the show's famous story: The doomed romance between an enslaved Nubian princess and her Egyptian captor.
"It worked for Verdi, it works for us," he says. "People go to the theater to be moved, to cry, to have catharsis — most of the great musicals are tragic: West Side Story, Carousel, Les Miserable. The best thing is to laugh yourself silly in the musical theater, but that's hard. The next best thing is to weep. Aida delivers."
Falls also says that some of the things critics didn't like about the show, its clash of styles, its generic pop score, are the very things paying customers like. For instance, critics complained that "My Strongest Suit," a number that features a colorful Versace-like fashion show, was too campy and extraneous.
"It's big-time fun," says Falls. "Even though they think it might be out of place, it's absolutely true to the show. And, hey, don't we really want to get our money's worth?"
Adam Pascal, who plays Radames, the Egyptian soldier in love with Aida, chalks up the musical's success to Elton John and Tim Rice's tunes.
"The show is traditional in its format and its storytelling, but it’s got modern music," Pascal says. "I think that's what's missing in a lot of new musicals, a modern, pop sound." – Albawaba.com.
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