Harry Potter tix are conjuring more than $5,000 apiece on StubHub – although ‘Hamilton’ commanded $10,000 apiece at its peak.
Harry Potter and Hamilton are dueling for Broadway box office gold.
The first run of tickets for the two-part “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” which opens next March in New York’s Lyric Theatre, sold out faster than you can conjure up a patronus last week. And despite the producers’ painstaking attempts to prevent scalping with Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan system – which only doled out access codes to buy tickets to randomly selected subscribers, who then grappled with server issues to score seats – tix have already sprung up on resale sites like StubHub for more than $5,000 apiece.
They’re hotter than “Hamilton” at the moment, which are commanding just $1,150 apiece at most on StubHub. But at its peak last summer – and toward the end of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s run playing the Founding Father without a father – people were paying up to $10,000 a ticket to be in the room where it happened. And that was for a show running just two hours and 45 minutes.
In comparison, “Cursed Child” is being shown in two parts spanning a total of six hours (with intermissions), which can be taken in on the same day as back-to-back matinee and primetime performances, or split across two consecutive nights. So customers are essentially paying double to see two Harry Potter performances.
“If you’re in for a penny, you’re in for a pound, because you have to see both,” Joe Dziemianowicz, the New York Daily News theater critic, told Moneyish.
Broadway Battle: ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ is hotter than ‘Hamilton’ right now https://t.co/6zIVQJZKBl
— Moneyish (@Moneyish) October 25, 2017
Original ticket prices at the 1,256-seat Lyric Theatre ranged between $20 and $199 – with premium seats even higher – averaging about $185 a seat. MarketWatch – a sister publication to Moneyish – estimates that “Cursed Child” is set to make more than $230,000 at the box office for each of its eight weekly performances, making upwards of $1.85 million a week. That’s less than the $2.6 million that “Hamilton” wrangles weekly, but still a princely sum.
“‘Hamilton’ is still probably the biggest-hyped Broadway show in recent memory, but ‘Harry Potter’ is one of the most successful franchises in the world,” Michael Riedel, Broadway columnist for the New York Post, told Moneyish. (The two publications share the same parent company.)
“And this is not a movie showing in 800 theaters across the U.S. seven times a day,” Riedel added. “It’s in one theater that seats a thousand people, and it happens once a day, and that’s it. And that drives the ticket prices sky high.”
“Cursed Child” is a sequel to J,K. Rowling’s blockbuster boy wizard franchise that’s sold close to half a billion books and spawned eight films that made $7.7 billion. It takes place 19 years after the last book and movie, and follows the children of Harry, Ron and Hermione as they navigate Hogwarts. The critically-acclaimed London run of the show has won a record-breaking nine Laurence Olivier Awards awards, which has also spiked interest in the show around the world. Another “Cursed Child” production is even coming to Australia.
In comparison, few people outside the theater community knew what a potential hit “Hamilton” was while it was being workshopped in the Public Theatre. And kids weren’t as jazzed about a historical figure as they are about a boy wizard – and, now, his son.
“You can’t even compare how many people know Harry Potter to how many knew who Alexander Hamilton was. The fan base is massive, and J.K. Rowling brilliantly got kids and middle schoolers and high schoolers all hooked, and they’ve grown up and gotten their kids hooked,” said Dziemianowicz. “And parents will do anything to please their kids. They will move mountains of cash to see this.”
I guess I'm not going to see Harry Potter and the cursed child next year pic.twitter.com/aSypQ1vb8A
— Rachel (@RachelBerge) October 18, 2017
Plus, the multi-step ticketing process made it harder for buyers to get seats. So desperate Muggles with deeper pockets will probably pay whatever they can to come back to Hogwarts – and the lucky ones with extra tickets will be ready to capitalize off of that.
“If you have the money to buy tickets from a scalper or reseller, and you don’t have to spend an hour trying to figure out how to buy tickets on the website, you’re going to do it,” said Riedel. “And if you’re someone who actually got a code, and you bought six tickets, but you only need four for your family, you’ll speculate on the other two. And if you can get $5,000 for them, that covers the cost of the other four tickets you bought.”
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