Vegas show "Believe"

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Arnie Fuoco
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Vegas show "Believe"

Postby Arnie Fuoco » October 25th, 2015, 11:06 pm

I was reading the thread on Cris Angel leaving "Believe" and it occurred to me that the most puzzling thing about him is the show "Believe."
I know the various on-line newspaper reviews on "Believe" have been mixed. I looked at Yelp and the show has a 1.5 star (out of 5 stars)review. It has 744 reviews. When you read the reviews most of them are angry negative.

Is there someone familiar with how Vegas operates, with shows like this, that can tell me?

(1) Is the show profitable?
(2) If not, how does it continue?
(3) If it is, how does it overcome the negative reviews?
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Re: Vegas show "Believe"

Postby performer » October 25th, 2015, 11:11 pm

I don't know if this is relevant to Vegas shows but I did read a billionaire business man saying that it can cost more money to close a losing venture than it does to keep it going. It is something known as "closing costs" apparently and is cited as a reason why companies keep ventures going even though they know they are losing money over it. It is supposed to be the lesser of two evils just to let it run and limit the losses than it is to close and incur the closing costs which can be vast over a very short period.

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Re: Vegas show "Believe"

Postby Tom Moore » October 26th, 2015, 6:52 am

Believe is owned and controlled by Cirque du Soleil and they have the financial resources to keep any of their shows ticking over through low sales periods which is why (with an odd exception) you don't see their shows opening and closing within a few weeks.

The "mistake" a lot of people make about shows and showbiz is assuming completely the wrong figures for ticket prices, ticket sales and show costs. You'll also recall that Believe was reworked a few years ago (basically halving the number of people employed on it) and is about to be reworked again to cut more costs and freshen up the show so as you can see the actual product is being constantly refined to make it viable and sustainable. A professional company like CdS will be budgeting a show so that the actual operating cost (staff wages and rental) is around 75% of the actual typical house revenues - note i say the ACTUAL house revenues, not the theoretical top price for tickets & 100% capacity - so that even during lean sales periods the show can keep running. As Mark has pointed out there are also significant costs in closing a show (performers have to be brought out of contracts, rental agreements need to be ended and there will be a 6 figure cost just to physically take the show out of the theatre) so unless a production is loosing money long term it is indeed cheaper to keep it open and running at a slight loss and do some extra advertising.

Magicians also have a very skewed view of the show - to us its "Criss Angels show" but if you look at the branding and advertising used for it they have placed it very firmly within the world of CdS shows so many people will be going to see it because of that. Criss does have a fan base who also buy tickets and more importantly has a brand (past tv shows, appearances, awards) which is very marketable and which will help drive sales. There are plenty of other Vegas "names" with considerably worse back-stories, claims to fame and ethics than Criss but who still sell plenty of tickets because as the old adage goes; it doesn't matter what they say about you as long as they spell your name right.

I think it's safe to say that Believe isn't CdS's most profitable show but at the same time it's almost certainly not making a loss (800 tickets per show @ $30 each, 7 shows per week is still $8m show revenue per year) and since the show now employs about a dozen performers + the magic team it will have a fraction of the operating costs of their other shows which have a performance team of 40+
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Q. Kumber
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Re: Vegas show "Believe"

Postby Q. Kumber » October 26th, 2015, 7:44 am

A few years ago I spoke with a fairly high up person in the Cirque organisation. They were sorry to have gotten involved in this show but owing to contracts they have to keep it running.

Arnie Fuoco
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Re: Vegas show "Believe"

Postby Arnie Fuoco » October 26th, 2015, 10:32 am

Thanks for all your inputs. I now have a better understanding of how this works.
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Bill Marquardt
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Re: Vegas show "Believe"

Postby Bill Marquardt » October 26th, 2015, 3:32 pm

I have an ancillary question. Why is the show name written as BeLIEve?

The word "lie" is in capital letters. Is there some significance to this? And, no, I am not a Criss Angel hater. It just seems weird.

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Re: Vegas show "Believe"

Postby Andres Reynoso » October 26th, 2015, 3:52 pm

CdS has closed previously shows within a short run, most of them were "resident shows"

As examples, Iris at the Dolby Theater was closed due the low ticket sellings. Some time ago I read that the theater was specially refurbrished for the show and even Los Angeles' goverment put money on the project. So I can imagine a hugh lost.

Zaia, at the Venetian Macao, closed because it didn't generated the money the casino expected eventhough was reported to produce, in one year, more than the incomes that an average Las Vegas Show earns in the same time period.

Viva Elvis at the Aria closed and was substituted with Zarkana, so the Aria doesn't lost a Soleil show, but I don't know how was negotiated with Elvis' rights owners.

With Believe (as Viva Elvis, Love and The One) I understand there are three parties involved: CdS, MGM Group and the artist's brand showcased, so I can imagine is not easy the three of them reach an agreement for closing.

I think the only tour show closing prematurely is Banana Shpeel with only two cities visited.

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Re: Vegas show "Believe"

Postby P.T.Widdle » October 26th, 2015, 4:39 pm

Bill Marquardt wrote:I have an ancillary question. Why is the show name written as BeLIEve?

The word "lie" is in capital letters. Is there some significance to this? And, no, I am not a Criss Angel hater. It just seems weird.


I've always liked the name of that show, designed as it was with the capital LIE in it. I'm surprised no magician used it before, actually.

It's a clever word within a word (of which there are many), but this one has a nice paradoxical nature between the two words that is especially well-suited when used in a magical context, like the name of a magic show.
The capitalization gets you to see both words almost simultaneously, reading "believe" slightly before "lie," thereby planting an interesting thought in your head before any magic is even done.

Again, it's seems pretty amazing that no magician has ever taken advantage of that particular graphic representation on a poster or something somewhere.

Maybe I'll go through every page of Tachen's Magic to see.

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Re: Vegas show "Believe"

Postby Richard Kaufman » October 26th, 2015, 11:53 pm

Cirque had building custom built for their show "Zed" at the Tokyo Disney Resort. The show didn't last long and the building now sits unused most of the time.
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Andres Reynoso
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Re: Vegas show "Believe"

Postby Andres Reynoso » October 27th, 2015, 6:03 pm

Zed closed due to the economical troubles caused by the 2011 earthquake. And yes, it's incredible how the build now is unused.
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Re: Vegas show "Believe"

Postby Jack Shalom » October 27th, 2015, 6:48 pm

I know I am decidedly in the minority, but I've never liked any CdS show I've seen.

It seems like a vast machine for sucking the life and humor out of every form of entertainment it encounters.

But like I say, I'm just cranky. People seem to like them.

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Re: Vegas show "Believe"

Postby Richard Kaufman » October 27th, 2015, 6:54 pm

I believe Zed closed because people did not want to take the train out to the Tokyo Disney Resort just to see a show. And there was little business from the people going to the theme parks: they had better things to do.

My friend has informed me that the building built for Zed now hosts frequent concerts.

By the way, Jack, I agree with you.
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