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What Was the Biggest Monetary Flop?- Page 3

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Mr Roxy
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re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#51
Posted: 8/20/06 at 8:38pm
It was not done concert style

It was an audacious idea & the music was the strongest part of it
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re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#52
Posted: 8/20/06 at 8:59pm
Civil War wasn't concert style, however, since Rent was fairly recent, they used the same mic system--the concert headphone kind. Really strange to see a period show about the Civil War with headphone mics... Kinda ruined the mood for me.

I also recall someone in the audience loudly yelling out during an ensemble number: "This sounds like tne theme to The Jeffersons". The whole audience was up for grabs after that!

As Margo said, it lost everything.
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re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#53
Posted: 8/20/06 at 9:20pm
Lestat lost the $15 million capitalization, in addition to about $1.5 million that it lost for it's weekly op costs (it never broke even, and was loosing between $100,000 and $175,000 per week during its run).

$16.5 million, that's a lot, maybe not the biggest, but it should place it in the top 5...
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re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#54
Posted: 8/20/06 at 9:31pm
What about Paul Simon's The Capeman. I mean the next day the front page of the post said "Broadway's Biggest Flop"
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re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#55
Posted: 8/20/06 at 9:33pm
I think Capeman lost about $8 million -- a lot of money to be sure, but probably not top 5.
"What a story........ everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at her rear end." -- Birdie [http://margochanning.broadwayworld.com/] "The Devil Be Hittin' Me" -- Whitney
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re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#56
Posted: 8/20/06 at 9:40pm
Oh lord, I'd forgotten about Capeman! Everyone was brought in to help fix that...

Not the biggest flop, but I think at the time it was up there! I think $8 mil might have been a record at the time.

What about Shogun? Was that before or after? I think that held the record, briefly. The night I saw it the set fell on top of one of the actors. Showgone, was the phrase of the day...
"It's not so much do what you like, as it is that you like what you do." SS

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana." GMarx
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re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#57
Posted: 8/20/06 at 9:42pm
Capeman lost 11 million, and more on its tour!
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re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#58
Posted: 8/20/06 at 11:32pm
something about reading how shows lose money is a lot of fun to me. The facts about Sunset Boulevard just boggle my mind. Talk about foolish producing.

So, looking at all these musicals that lost tons of money, we can take this as sort of a hint that these musicals should not be revived, right? However, are there any musicals (outside of Sweeney) that have recouped in a revival, but not originally?

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re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#59
Posted: 8/21/06 at 1:38am
Lestas Lestat Lestat
i know it's been said
but come on, that was just the worst idea ever
people will just turn anything into a musical nowadays
it was just sad. i felt bad for hugh
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re: What Was the Worst Monetary Flop?#60
Posted: 8/21/06 at 2:03am
Lestat was certainly a flop, but did not lose the most money.

We still don't have the current record, do we?

PS: The title of the thread is a little misleading--it should be the "biggest" monetary flop, not the "worst". That implies the worst show. Some of those are still running. And some of the best have lost everything. (Sondheim, anyone?)
"It's not so much do what you like, as it is that you like what you do." SS

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana." GMarx
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re: What Was the Biggest Monetary Flop?#61
Posted: 8/21/06 at 2:22am
Haha good point--changing it.
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re: What Was the Biggest Monetary Flop?#62
Posted: 8/21/06 at 2:46am
Thanks! Better...
"It's not so much do what you like, as it is that you like what you do." SS

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana." GMarx
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re: What Was the Biggest Monetary Flop?#63
Posted: 8/21/06 at 2:52am
I try.
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re: What Was the Biggest Monetary Flop?#64
Posted: 8/21/06 at 9:39am
Dear God, this is a depressing thread. It seems like almost nothing makes a profit on Broadway. It makes one wonder why producers even bother to mount shows.
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re: What Was the Biggest Monetary Flop?#65
Posted: 8/21/06 at 12:45pm
I saw the tour of Sunset Boulevard with Petula Clark, and I don't remember the set being that special (it didn't have the raising of the mansion that apparently happened on Broadway). I don't remember anything about the show that would have made it unusually expensive -- I wonder if the tour economics were a little more sensible than the Broadway ones were.
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re: What Was the Biggest Monetary Flop?#66
Posted: 8/21/06 at 1:53pm
Does anybody have a list of all the leading ladies who were in Sunset Boulevard? I am very interested in this.

As for other flops, i think TABOO flopped b/c of poor advertising. A huge poster in Times Square of a Man at a Urinal? Please! The show was not about that. It was also not a jukebox musical, as many people thought.
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re: What Was the Biggest Monetary Flop?#67
Posted: 8/21/06 at 4:29pm
I saw Sunset Blvd in LA with Glenn Close. The set was massive. It was like a huge block of gold.

When I saw the Sunset tour (with Petula Clark) the set was no big deal. In fact the interior house set was lit with soft blues and violets.

I did not seem like an huge set at all. I can't image the set sucking up more money than say, Phantom or Les Miserables.
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re: What Was the Biggest Monetary Flop?#68
Posted: 8/21/06 at 4:46pm
OK, what do you guys define as "losing money". I assume that for all the flops listed that the actors got paid, the musicians got paid, the stagehands got paid, the ad agencies ot paid, and the theatre owners got paid. Do you mean the producers lost their investment in the show? I know Jekyll and Hyde sold a ton of CD's so is that included in the loss for the producers? I often hear "the producers" lost their entire investment...how can this be true if the show ran for even one performance? Someone bought a ticket. How much of the monetery loss is smoke and mirrors?

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re: What Was the Biggest Monetary Flop?#69
Posted: 8/21/06 at 5:03pm
Let’s use Lestat as an example:

LESTAT had a budget of $15 million dollars coming into Broadway.

The way a Broadway show makes back its initial investment is to have it’s weekly gross be higher than the weekly operating costs.

So, LESTAT had weekly op costs of approx. $575,000, but it never made anything above that, therefore, for the run of the show, it never made a single penny for the producers/investors.

So, a show will only make money if it’s weekly gross surpasses what it costs to run the show, so, ticket sales go to keeping the show running, and, if the show is selling well, hopefully making back its initial investment.

Updated On: 8/21/06 at 05:03 PM
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re: What Was the Biggest Monetary Flop?#70
Posted: 8/21/06 at 5:10pm
Realize that shows COST MONEY to run. Say, a producer raises $10 million -- that's JUST to get the show open and running. From then on, the show has to pay actors, musicians, stagehands, theatre staff and crew, plus a certain percentage of the gross automatically goes to the composers, writers, director, designers etc... plus there's the cost of renting the theatre, insurance, and advertising (which alone is six figures a month). All those running costs usually add up to around $600,000 per week for a typical large musical (sometimes more). A show needs to sell at least that amount of tickets each week, JUST to cover its expenses. Any money beyond those expenses will then go to the producers and their investors to pay down that initial cost of $10 million.

If a show is a big hit like Wicked, it can make several hundred thousand dollars above and beyond its weekly expenses and it's possible to pay back that $10 million within a year or so (Wicked cost $14 million and took 14 months to recoup). BUT, if a show isn't a big hit -- like Lestat, Dirty Rotten Scoundrals, the Wildhorn shows etc.... -- and doesn't take in enough money to cover its weekly expenses, then its up to the producers to cover any weekly shortfall -- all those people HAVE to be paid regardless. So, if it costs, $600,000 to run the show and you only took in $500,000 that week, then the producers are responsible for that $100,000 shortfall. Not only did you not pay down any of that $10 million initial cost, but now the investors are owed $10.1 million. If a show continues to lose money week after week and they still decide to cover the shortfall and keep it running in hope business might improve (which almost never happens) rather than owing the investors "just" $10 million, the loss may end up being $11 million, $12 million, or in the case of Scarlett Pimpernel, over $20 million. The investors might possibly make some of that back on subsequent road tours (it's happened occasionally that road and European tours have been able to wipe out a deficit and bring a show into the profitable column), but in most cases, the investors are simply out of luck, out of that money and they write off the loss on their taxes.

All of that is a very simplified version of how things work, but THAT'S how a show can lose its entire investment -- and it happens all the time.
"What a story........ everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at her rear end." -- Birdie [http://margochanning.broadwayworld.com/] "The Devil Be Hittin' Me" -- Whitney
Updated On: 8/21/06 at 05:10 PM
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re: What Was the Biggest Monetary Flop?#71
Posted: 8/21/06 at 5:34pm
Damn! There goes my career as a producer...
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re: What Was the Biggest Monetary Flop?#72
Posted: 8/21/06 at 6:01pm
It really does seem as if it is almost pointless to mount a show, with the astronomical cost these days and running costs.
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re: What Was the Biggest Monetary Flop?#73
Posted: 8/21/06 at 6:06pm
Be aware that many investors/producers are in it for the tax write-off as well as the prestige. Most don't expect to make their money back.
"It's not so much do what you like, as it is that you like what you do." SS

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana." GMarx
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re: What Was the Biggest Monetary Flop?#74
Posted: 8/21/06 at 6:11pm
RE: Musicals that were flops in their original run but recouped during the revival.
The most obvious case is Chicago, it opened too close to A Chorus Line and was considered too dark, since Liza Minnelli's stint was never advertised not to diminish Gwen Verdon's star power in the show the producers could not take advantage of her name to attract people to the show (though once word got around, everyone knew she was starring in the show). Though Minnelli almost turned the show into a hit, they closed on red after 900+ performances. As everyone knows the revival is now the longest-running revival in the history of Broadway and turns a profit almost every week.
Faith Healer was also a big flop when it first was mounted and the new revival recouped rather quickly.
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re: What Was the Biggest Monetary Flop?#75
Posted: 8/21/06 at 6:26pm
duh. i completely forgot about chicago.

any others?