Wicked, the popular musical that tells the back story of the witches of Oz., reached a milestone that few other musicals have attained. It has sold $1 billion in tickets in the 12 ½ years since it opened on Broadway.
Only two other Broadway shows have reached $1 billion in ticket sales. The Lion King hit the mark in 2013, 16 years after it opened, and The Phantom of the Opera reached a billion dollars in 2015, 27 years after it made its Broadway debut. Wicked hit $1 billion in sales much faster than either of those two productions. It has now earned more money in the United States alone than The Lion King has earned around the world. Wicked has been one of the highest-grossing shows on Broadway for much of its run and is one of the most profitable productions in Universal Pictures’ catalog.
Even though Wicked just hit the $1 billion mark in the United States, it reached that milestone a long time ago if global sales figures are taken into account. It has made $4 billion in ticket sales worldwide. Over $2.8 billion is from other North American companies that put on productions in cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago.
Wicked is one of the few musicals that is able to generate at least $1 million in weekly ticket sales. Others in that group include The Book of Mormon, Aladdin, and Hamilton.
Even though they may not seem as lucrative as films, many Broadway shows generate as much revenue as blockbuster movies, or sometimes more. If Wicked were a movie grossing $1 billion, it would rank as the 25th highest-grossing film of all time. The costs to produce Broadway shows can also be staggering. According to the New York Film Academy, the cost to produce a musical is $9.7 million on average, in addition to $590,000 for weekly running costs.
Wicked has been performed for 50 million people in 14 countries around the world. The play has been translated into six languages. It has been performed at the West End in London since 2006.
Winnie Holzman wrote the book based on Gregory Maguire’s 1995 novel. The music was written by composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz. The play currently stars Rachel Tucker as Elphaba and Carrie St. Louis as Glinda. The show is directed by Joe Mantello and is performed at the Gershwin Theatre.
OnBroadway.com sells discounted tickets for many plays and musicals at theaters on and off-Broadway. Tickets are available for both day and evening performances of Wicked at the Gershwin Theatre.