From the New York Times
“China Doll,” a critically panned but commercially successful new David Mamet play starring Al Pacino, has recouped its $3.7 million investment costs.
The play, about a wealthy businessman who runs afoul of his state’s governor, started off blazing hot at the box office, reflecting the high regard audiences have for Mr. Pacino; since reviewers questioned the quality of the drama itself, business has slowed, although at a time (January) when Broadway grosses generally take a dip.
The show’s lead producer, Jeffrey Richards, said he was pleased with the work, which he said has been revised and improved even after its official (and delayed) opening.
“It’s been ultimately very rewarding because of the work that’s been done during the actual run of the play,” Mr. Richards said. “The ending has been changed by the playwright, and the audiences have embraced it recently, which has been very encouraging.”
The play, which began previews on Oct. 21, opened for a limited run on Dec. 4, and is scheduled to close on Jan. 31. It has generally played six or seven performances a week (most Broadway shows are staged eight times a week); it grossed more than $1 million during six of its first seven weeks, but has been dropping since, to $552,601 for six performances last week.
Mr. Richards said the play, which has only two characters, would have a post-Broadway life: he said that more than 30 theaters around the country have licensed the show, and that he expected several international productions next year.