“Wicked,” the hit Broadway musical about the making of Oz’s wicked witch of the West, quietly passed “The Phantom of the Opera” this spring to become the second-biggest grosser of all time on the Great White Way.
According to figures from the Broadway League, “Wicked” has earned $1.12 billion from its first performance in 2003 through July 9 — just ahead of the $1.11 billion reaped by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic 1988 rock opera over its three-decade run.
And “Wicked” did it in half the time. The show, produced by David Stone and Marc Platt, is also inching up on Broadway’s all-time box office champ, Disney’s stage adaptation of its animated big-screen hit “The Lion King.” Director Julie Taymor’s innovative production has earned more than $1.38 billion since it first opened in 1997.
None of these figures account for overseas and touring productions, of which there have been many over the years.
The musical prequel to “The Wizard of Oz” has amassed worldwide revenues of more than $4 billion in all of its incarnations — and that’s before a long-awaited movie adaptation from Universal Pictures.
“That’s the gross number, but yes, in terms of its profits and the margin, it’s extremely significant in the history of Universal, which is its largest investor,” Platt told TheWrap in a 2015 interview with TheWrap.
Universal and Platt acquired the rights to Gregory Maguire’s 1995 novel “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West” in 2001 with plans to develop a non-musical film.
But they were soon approached by “Godspell” and “Pippin” composer-lyricist Stephen Schwartz about doing a stage musical version that has proven to be enormously popular.