Boost in Broadway Ticket Sales This Holiday Season: 'The Lion King' Remains No. 1 While 'The Elephant Man' and 'The River' Recoup

By Jaime Prisco | Dec 30, 2014 05:06 PM EST

The holidays mean big money for Broadway producers. This season, 19 of the current 26 shows broke the $1 million mark for the week with almost 30,000 more people attending shows than last Christmas.

The Broadway League says the shows pulled in $40,993,950 for the week ending Sunday, Dec. 28, better than the same week last year when 30 shows attracted $38,783,854. Also, attendance is on the rise from 290,386 in 2013 to 318,721 this year.

The mild New York winter weather and Christmas falling on a Thursday may all be helpful factors in the increase in attendance. With a boost in celebrity casting in Broadway shows being another reason for people attending the theater, performances sans celebrities are holding their own.

Despite having Hugh Jackman in The River, Bradley Cooper in The Elephant Man and Sting in The Last Ship all onstage toward the end of the year, and The Book of Mormon hardly slowing down at all this year, an old favorite was once again king of Broadway in 2014.

Disney's The Lion King set a weekly record at the Minskoff Theatre with a nine-performance haul of $2,885,321. The Disney favorite remains Broadway's highest-grossing show of the year for the second time in a row, despite six other shows having higher average ticket prices.

That is not all Disney has to celebrate. Its other show, Aladdin, will end 2014 as the fifth highest-grossing show of the year and the only new one among the top five. Aladdin also broke the weekly house record at the New Amsterdam Theatre with a nine-performance take of $1,986,322.

In recent weeks, bulging box office grosses have led to several shows that opened this fall already recouping, including The Elephant Man, The Illusionists, The River and It's Only a Play. But one show that continues to struggle to find an audience is The Last Ship, which has seen its overall numbers only fare marginally better despite Sting stepping on stage of late.

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