- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 22, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - Last week’s biggest earning show on Broadway wasn’t the usual suspects _ “Wicked” or “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.” It was an old show that proves it can still roar.

“The Lion King,” now in its 14th year, took in $1,534,779 for the week ending Sunday. “Wicked,” the show about the witches in “The Wizard of Oz,” was next with $1,526,036, and the much-delayed “Spider-Man” musical took third place with $1,476,828 in eight preview performances.

“Wicked” and “Spider-Man” both reported increases over the previous week’s box office, but “The Lion King” took in $252,228 more than the week before.

Disney attributed some of the increase to a savvy scheduling change: It decided to perform “The Lion King” on Valentine’s Day, which this year fell on a Monday, traditionally a day when shows are shuttered.

The other big winner last week was Julie Taymor, who directed both “The Lion King” and the stunt-heavy, $65 million “Spider-Man.” She may have taken her lumps after poor critical reviews of her “Spider-Man” before it even opens March 15, but she’s proven to have a hand in two of the top three draws on Broadway.

“The Lion King,” with music by Elton John and Tim Rice, became the seventh-longest running show in Broadway history on Jan. 2 when it played its 5,462nd performance. Producers say 17 productions of the show have been seen by more than 54 million people and grossed more than $4.2 billion to date.

Other shows that scored well on Broadway last week were the Al Pacino-led “The Merchant of Venice,” which ended its run, as well as “The Addams Family” and “The Phantom of the Opera.”

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