Another Harry Potter Landmark: At $68 Million, the Most Expensive Broadway Nonmusical Play Ever

Apr 16, 2018

The Harry Potter economy is filled with jaw-dropping numbers, including 500 million books sold and $7.7 billion in worldwide film grosses.

Here’s another one: “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” a two-part drama now in previews and opening April 22, cost about $68.5 million to bring to Broadway, including not only $35.5 million to capitalize the show — more than for any other nonmusical play in history — but also another $33 million to clear out and redo the theater.

It’s a huge bet in a flop-prone industry, but also a seemingly safe one, predicated on the expectation that “Cursed Child” will become a big hit on Broadway, a long-running production that can spin off profits for years.

“That’s a ton of money, no question about it, in terms of what things cost around here, but it’s Harry Potter, one of the most popular brands in the history of brands,” said Tom Viertel, the executive director of the Commercial Theater Institute. “It has a title the likes of which we would rarely, if ever, get to see on Broadway.”

Even in previews, as the cast finds its footing and the creative team makes adjustments, the show is setting box-office records. Potter fans have been filling up the Lyric, one of Broadway’s largest theaters, and the $2.1 million the play took in during the first week of April was more than any play had previously grossed in a single week.