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Director Julie Taymor has acknowledged what virtually everyone else already knew: that the $52-million Spider-Man musical will have to be a Lion King-sized hit to eventually turn a profit.
“Yes, financially, of course it does, but I’m aware of that, that’s my responsibility as an artist,” Taymor told The New York Times this week. “I’m not doing this for a small audience; I’m doing it for a world audience.”
As it stands, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark will have to sell out New York City’s 1,700-seat Hilton Theatre for every show for four years just to break even. With weekly production costs of more than $1 million — hundreds of thousands of dollars more than elaborate shows like Mary Poppins and West Side Story — Spider-Man likely will be the most expensive musical in Broadway history.
The production finally is set to open in November after months of delays that led to the departures of co-stars Evan Rachel Ward (Mary Jane) and Alan Cumming (Green Goblin). Relative newcomer Reeve Carney remains as Peter Parker/Spider-Man.
Taymor was honored on Tuesday with a lifetime achievement award at the New Dramatists benefit luncheon, where Carney performed an anthem from Spider-Man written by Bono and the Edge called “The Boy Falls From the Sky.” The Wall Street Journal notes that the song, which “carried U2’s familiar anguished wail,” includes such lyrics as “You can fly too high and get too close to the sun/See how a boy falls from the sky.”