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'Spider-Man' shakes off bad reviews, reports stronger ticket sales

February 14, 2011 |  2:09 pm


The critics have spoken.

 The “Spider-Man” audience isn’t listening.

A week after the ambitious — and famously troubled — musical received some of the worst notices in recent Broadway history, “Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark” reported that its ticket sales had actually improved since the toxic reviews came out.

On Monday, according to box office figures compiled by, the web-slinging musical directed by Julie Taymor and featuring the music of U2’s Bono and the Edge said it sold $1.33 million worth of tickets last week  — grossing about $33,000 more than it did the week before the derisive notices were published. The show was the second most-popular on Broadway, trailing only "Wicked" but selling more tickets than the hit shows "The Lion King" and "The Merchant of Venice."

The musical, whose $65-million budget makes it the most expensive Broadway show ever, is not scheduled to open until March 15. But about a dozen prominent theater critics, some citing the show’s repeated postponements, took the unusual step of reviewing the show before its official debut.

To say that the “Spider-Man” marks were low would be an understatement. The Washington Post called it “a shrill, insipid mess,” the Los Angeles Times labeled it “an artistic form of megalomania” while New York magazine labeled it "underbaked, terrifying, confusing.”


Theater review: 'Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark' at Foxwoods Theatre

 'Spider-man: Turn off the Dark'' finally meets its critics -- and the result isn't pretty

Negative 'Spider-man' reviews prompt online schadenfreude

-- John Horn

Credit: Jacob Cohl / AP Photo /The O and M Co.