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Is Spiderman working without a net (profit) on Broadway

The Hollywood Reporter reports that the $65 Million production of Spiderman on Broadway will take two or three years running at 100% capacity to recoup its investment.

Now, historically, multi-year runs at 100% capacity are the rare exception.  So, why would the backers for Spiderman take such a flying leap?

Well,  Spiderman is a tremendously strong brand, and a show about the superhero is bound to involve never-before-seen feats of acrobatics, on-stage flight, etc.  So, audiences will likely be drawn to the show.

Spiderman is a tremendously popular with kids, and parents (in an effort to be similarly popular with their kids) will buy tickets to Broadway versions of their kids favorite movies. (The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, etc.).  If Disney can do it, why not Marvel,  Warner Bros, and all the rest.?

But even if the show doesn't attract capacity crowds for the next several years…   Some have speculated that Spiderman is an example of a Broadway show being used as a marketing tool.  Sure, they say, it'll be nice if the show draws capacity crowds for the next several years, but  the real value to having a Spiderman musical on Broadway comes from the brand-awareness that it generates.  Build a spectacular Broadway show, the theory goes,  and audiences all over the world will flock to the next Spiderman movie, buy Spiderman merchandise, and so on.

After all, movie companies (whom I suspect are the primary financial backers of the Broadway production) routinely spend tens of millions promoting their films.  So, spending similar sums on a show that actually has some potential (however remote) of breaking even AND advances the Spiderman brand could seem like a worthwhile investment of resources.

Does this theory hold water?  Maybe.  Only time will tell whether the reward is worth the expense.

Will other film studios follow suit, developing their flagship titles as Broadway musicals?  It wouldn't surprise me a bit.

Will it work?     What do you think?  Let me know in the comments.

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