Julie Taymor's Lawsuit Over 'Spider-Man' Musical Goes Live Again
Last week the show took in just $742,595, less than half its $1,543,508 potential despite a Foxwoods Theatre that was three-quarters full. The musical, with songs by U2's Bono and The Edge, is now routinely discounting tickets and a move to a smaller venue doesn't make financial sense.
The lease to the massive Foxwoods changed hands in May from Live Nation Entertainment to the Ambassador Theatre Group for about $60 million. The new owner may end up with a new tenant: A musical of "King Kong" that's currently in Australia.
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"Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" was Broadway's most expensive show with a price tag of $75 million and had a rocky start, with six delays in its opening night, injuries to several actors, a shake-up that led to the firing of original director Julie Taymor and critical drubbing.
It began previews in late 2010 but finally officially opened in mid-June 2011, long after many critics had already tired of the delays and written crushing reviews. Its number of performances recently crossed the 1,000 mark.
A future home for the show has swirled for months as its earnings dipped. A touring version had been initially discussed but a permanent home always seemed a better fit for a show that has loads of aerial acrobatics, high tech sets and digital projections.
One thing that has stood in the way of a move away from Broadway was the legal uncertainty that clouded its future. Taymor, the original "Spider-Man" director and co-book writer, was fired in 2011 after years of delays, accidents and critical backlash.
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Taymor slapped the producers, led by Michael Cohl and Jeremiah J. Harris, as well as Glen Berger, her former co-book writer, with a federal copyright infringement lawsuit, alleging they violated her creative rights and hadn't compensated her for the work she put into the show. The producers' filed a counterclaim asserting the copyright claims were baseless. A settlement was announced in April.
The show may not have made a profit but it left one box office milestone behind. In January 2012, the comic book musical took in a whopping $2,941,790 over nine performances, which is the highest single-week gross of any show in Broadway history.