The Pantages Theatre has added an asterisk or two to its claim in October that "The Book of Mormon" had set a new record for the biggest single-week box-office take in Los Angeles theater history.
On further review, Pantages spokesman Wayne McWhorter said, the theater jumped the gun a bit on Oct. 23 when it sent out a news release saying that the musical comedy about Mormon missionaries in Africa had set a new record by raking in $2,246,093 during the week ending Oct. 21.
After The Times reported the claim, McWhorter said that "we got a polite call from 'Wicked,'" whose general manager's office reminded the Pantages that the musical about budding witches in Oz had pulled down $2,291,511.50 in the same house for the week ending Jan. 4, 2009. The proselytizing Mormons were still $45,418.50 short of the mark for a standard theatrical week of eight performances in seven days.
But they persevered, and the public continued to fork over, until "The Book of Mormon" did, in fact, pass "Wicked" with weekly grosses of $2,346,513 and $2,470,678 in the final fortnight of a run that ended Nov. 25 -- a testament to what the combination of a hot show and "variable pricing" can do.