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Sex and the City


Peter T Chattaway
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Nikki:

11 PM UPDATE: Talk about great Sex! Friday's opening was a sold-out blow-out! Really early North American box office numbers for Sex And The City could be as high as $26 million to $28 million and for the weekend $65 million to $75 million. That's stunning the Hollywood pros. "It could reach or exceed the high end if the final West Coast numbers match the East Coast's. Those totals are huge," one rival studio exec exclaimed to me. "It's a true sensation. People thought it would do well. But nothing like this. The top end expected was $40M." Still, some experts wonder if this HBO Films/New Line/Warner Bros pic is a front-loaded phenomenon and the numbers won't hold on Saturday. But Sex And The City will beat last weekend's No. 1 blockbuster from Paramount and Spielberg/Lucas, Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, which made $12M today and should finish by Sunday around $37M-$39M: that's -60% but last Friday kicked off Memorial Weekend.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Wow. Sounds like I'll have to eat my hat on my $180 mil lowball estimate, if those opening weekend forecasts are right. I think I'm right, though, that it will generate repeat viewings from fans -- and that means three or four weekends of relatively similar proportions, even if the film is a "front-loaded phenomenon."

Greg Wright

Managing Editor, Past the Popcorn

Consulting Editor, Hollywood Jesus

Leader of the Uruk-Howdy, Orcs of the West

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Aw, crap. With numbers THAT big, I may HAVE to see this film, just to keep, um, abreast of what's making waves out there. I can't recall the last time I skipped a film that grossed over $100 million domestic (though I came close when I skipped Norbit, which made $95.6 million last year). (Oh, wait, I never saw The Pacifier, which grossed $113.1 million in 2005. But apart from that, I have to go back to 1997 and George of the Jungle to find another film that passed the century mark which I have never seen.)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Box Office: SATC Whips Indy and Looks Headed for $70M Weekend in Historic Battle of Mature Actresses

"Sex and the City'' grabbed a whopping $28.5 million on Friday, based on early, unofficial numbers, says Steve Mason of Fantasy Moguls, who is now predicting the eponymous, R-rated chick flick will end the weekend with an astounding $70 million -- twice his Thursday estimate -- versus $47.6 million for the second weekend of "Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Crystal Skull,'' which he reckons took in $14.1 million on Friday (and will easily gross $300M domestic). That's not only a stunning and historic upset; Mase says that makes SATC the "all-time no. 1 opening for a movie headlined by a woman.''

In case you were wondering, the previous record-holder is Angelina Jolie's "Tomb Raider'' with $47.7 million. A more apt point of comparison might be the top chick flick opening headlined by a woman, the $35 million posted by Julia Roberts for "Runaway Bride,'' though Julia, unlike the SATC gals, had the benefits of a major male star (her "Pretty Woman'' co-star Richard Gere) and a PG-13 rating (Angie had the same rating and a pre-Bond Daniel Craig). And let us not forget that the second-billed female lead of "Indiana Jones,'' Cate Blanchett, is pushing 40 and that the romantic lead, Karen Allen is 56. The oldest of the SATC gals, Kim Cattrall, is 51 (she and Karen Allen both made their screen debuts in the late 1970s) and the movie ends (but, no pun intended, doesn't climax) with randy Samantha's 50th birthday party. . . .

Lou Lumenick, May 31

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Geez, I don't know where all these "experts" were pulling their predictions from! (Or maybe I just don't want to think about it.) Advance ticket sales were phenomenal...

That's just how eye roll.

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David Smedberg wrote:

: Geez, I don't know where all these "experts" were pulling their predictions from! (Or maybe I just don't want to think about it.) Advance ticket sales were phenomenal...

I think "tracking" is based on something else. FWIW, David Poland noted that SatC was the 10th-largest film of all time in terms of ticket pre-sales, but then, Hannah Montana was the 4th-largest, and its opening-weekend figure was less than half of what SatC is likely to make. So ticket sales are not necessarily all that reliable. The top ten pre-sales also omits six of the top ten opening weekends of the past three years, apparently. Poland's conclusion: "So what does the pre-sale success of S&TC mean? I would argue that grown women committed to going and utilized their credit cards more aggressively than teen boys do... as they did in order to take their daughters to see the Miley Cyrus concert film."

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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The Miley Cyrus comparison is interesting because the obvious difference with SATC is that Cyrus appeals to young girls, and tickets for kids cost less. Except that Hannah Montana was in a lot of IMAX theaters that charged more than the full adult price at a "regular" movie theater, so as to create a concert special-event atmosphere, right?

Anyway, this is all great, if you ask me. I'm not clamoring for more kiddie concert films or materialistic, hedonistic films for women, but I'm tired of the idea that female actors can't attract audiences. That's an assumption based on undeniable facts -- a long streak of fiction films headlined by actresses that didn't draw audiences. But how many more counterexamples, at this point, do we need to have that assumption/analysis revised? I think this squashes that earlier assumption like a grape, no?

We'll probably now get The Closer: The Movie, starring Kyra Sedgwick, and Saving Grace: The Movie, starring Holly Hunter, or a movie version of that Glenn Close cable show. Those shows aren't quite the juggernaut that SATC ever was, but you know how Hollywood likes to milk a trend.

If you look at some of my posts in the related threads from last year, you'll see that I've been rooting on this trend. It's part of what I loved about Hairspray -- a female "fantasy" of sorts, something girls can see and enjoy. There seems to be far too few movies like that lately. Maybe these recent examples will reverse that (perceived, by me) trend.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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We'll probably now get The Closer: The Movie, starring Kyra Sedgwick, and Saving Grace: The Movie, starring Holly Hunter, or a movie version of that Glenn Close cable show. Those shows aren't quite the juggernaut that SATC ever was, but you know how Hollywood likes to milk a trend.

Sadly, Gilmore Girls Gone Wild would most likely pull the mainstream in.

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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We'll probably now get The Closer: The Movie, starring Kyra Sedgwick, and Saving Grace: The Movie, starring Holly Hunter, or a movie version of that Glenn Close cable show. Those shows aren't quite the juggernaut that SATC ever was, but you know how Hollywood likes to milk a trend.

Sadly, Gilmore Girls Gone Wild would most likely pull the mainstream in.

Darren Hughes, who claims to like "art movies," would be there in a heartbeat. ;)

(Baiting Darren to join the conversation in a thread about a movie he'll never watch...)

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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FWIW, I actually tried to watch The Closer last week, and Kyra Sedgwick was awful. That show can't figure out if it wants to be a cute little comedy (see new ad on TV) or a serious show about a smart southern woman who commands power and brings investigations to an end. I don't think you can have both, at least you can't in this case because they are not pulling it off. So I did it, once, and I won't do it again.

I might try Saving Grace sometime though. I keep wondering who that guy is out in the desert.

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Christian wrote:

: But how many more counterexamples, at this point, do we need to have that assumption/analysis revised?

Maybe we need an example that isn't a spin-off from a hit TV show, which is what both Sex and the City and Hannah Montana are.

: It's part of what I loved about Hairspray -- a female "fantasy" of sorts, something girls can see and enjoy.

That's not a bad example. True, it's a remake of a movie, based on a stage musical that came in-between the two movies, but the original movie was 20 years old when the remake came out -- older than many girls in the audience! -- and it was never all THAT big a hit. (Then again, Hairspray benefitted to some degree from being a high-school-set musical starring the guy from High School Musical, right?)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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[snip] A more apt point of comparison might be the top chick flick opening headlined by a woman, the $35 million posted by Julia Roberts for "Runaway Bride,'' though Julia, unlike the SATC gals, had the benefits of a major male star (her "Pretty Woman'' co-star Richard Gere) and a PG-13 rating (Angie had the same rating and a pre-Bond Daniel Craig). And let us not forget that the second-billed female lead of "Indiana Jones,'' Cate Blanchett, is pushing 40 and that the romantic lead, Karen Allen is 56. The oldest of the SATC gals, Kim Cattrall, is 51 (she and Karen Allen both made their screen debuts in the late 1970s) and the movie ends (but, no pun intended, doesn't climax) with randy Samantha's 50th birthday party. . . .

Lou Lumenick, May 31

Nitpick alert: "Runaway Bride" got a plain PG rating, not PG-13. I looked it up on filmratings.com to confirm.

Edward Curtis

Morgantown, WV

Hold the physician in honor, for he is essential to you, and God it was who created his profession. Sirach 38:1 NAB

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Lou Lumenick:

"Sex and the City'' dropped 25 percent on Saturday while "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull'' surged 57 percent, putting the two films in a virtual tie for the day with around $19M apiece, reports Steve Mason of Fantasy Moguls based on early, unofficial figures. He's still predicting that Carrie and pals will still handily take the weekend with $60 million over three days, compared to $45M for Indy. This is a stunning triumph on many levels, as well as an ironic one. "Sex'' is the all-time best opening for New Line Cinema outside of the "Lord of the Rings'' trilogy. New Line was recently absorbed by Warner Bros., which reportedly had passed on distributing "Sex'' for its sister company HBO, but ended up doing the honors after New Line's semi-demise. A Warner executive was quoted last year as saying the studio was avoiding female-driven movies in the wake of flops like Nicole Kidman's "The Invasion,'' though this was denied. "Sex'' appears to have broken all records for the opening of a female-driven movie, including the best opening for a woman toplined by a woman over 40 -- Mase cites the previous record holder as "101 Dalmations'' with Glenn Close, which opened to $33 million. As far as I can tell, this is also the best-ever opening for romantic comedy -- an honor previously held by "Hitch'' ($43M), which was top-billed by a man (Will Smith, this country's leading box-office attraction). The steep drop for "Sex and the City'' is highly unusual for female-driven movies, which tend to have "legs'' -- they start more modestly and show much smaller drops than movies aimed at men. More on this later, after Warner issues an official number in a few hours.

MrZoom wrote:

: Nitpick alert: "Runaway Bride" got a plain PG rating, not PG-13.

Huh, so it did. Interesting.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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More records broken, as per ComingSoon.net:

The Friday-to-Sunday figure marks the biggest R-rated comedy opening of all time, beating the $45.1 million debut of American Pie in 1999. Among all R-rated films, it ranks as the fifth-biggest behind The Matrix Reloaded ($91.8 million), The Passion of The Christ ($83.8 million), 300 ($70.9 million) and Hannibal ($58 million). The film is also the best opening ever for a live-action adaptation of a TV series, beating Mission: Impossible 's $45 million opening.

Of course, the SECOND Mission: Impossible film had an even bigger opening, at $57.8 million, but I guess that was more of a sequel to the earlier film than it was a movie spinning off of a TV series.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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THE "SEX" PHILES

At least 'Star Wars' geeks have some perspective . . .

Unlike the "Star Wars" nerds, who are under no illusions that they will ever actually take the Millennium Falcon out for a chance to complete the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, the "Sex and the City" fangirls think that they can live the life they see on TV. . . .

Even 33-year-old women are not living in reality in this town. The multiplexes and networks and bookstores can barely accommodate all the movies and TV series and books (almost all written by men; one, I recall vaguely, written by me) about comical manboys coming to terms with the need to grow up. There is no equivalent message getting through to women. For them, it's all "27 Dresses" and "Made of Honor" and novels from "Pride and Prejudice" on that sling the same fantasy: There are two handsome, successful men chasing me. Whichever one will I choose? Then they walk into the bar at Pastis and discover: 150 single women, 50 gay men, 50 straight married men and 25 single straight men, but it's so loud that it's impossible to talk to anyone anyway. . . .

Kyle Smith, New York Post, June 1

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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This is one of the more sensible posts I've come across at The American Prospect's TAPPED blog:

I agree that 2 and 1/4 hours seems hellishly overlong for a mediocre-at-best sitcom, but it would actually be pretty lean for a Bay-era action movie. The inexplicable, tedious bloating of unambitious genre pictures is a phenomenon that far precedes Sex and the City. Window-dressing male characters? Not only would negligible female characters be so common that it would belabor the obvious to cite examples, but plenty of Michael Manns acquire very lofty artistic reputations despite little ability to create interesting female characters.

So I don't see anything uniquely problematic here. Women deserve crappy Hollywood product too.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Andrew Sullivan:

I went to see it last night. It makes The English Patient seem too fast-paced. After an hour (of many), I felt a very rare and very sudden desire to watch a lot of a NASCAR.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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That was funny.

Better than the movie? Probably.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Saw the movie on Friday, and over all I really liked it. I have many thoughts, but I'll start with these.

***spoilers***

Today a friend asked me for a detailed synopsis of the movie - she's not typically a movie-goer, but was generally curious. When I was describing the theme of forgiveness as it played out between Steve and Miranda, then Miranda and Carrie, I said to my friend that it reminded me of the passage in scripture about forgiving others because you have been forgiven much.

I looked it up, and it's from Matt 18 - the servant whose large debt is canceled, yet he goes to the man who owes him just a little, and has him thrown into jail. The first servant is called wicked for not being merciful, though mercy was shown to him.

I was really bothered by Miranda's hard heart toward forgiving Steve, and it seemed even her friends thought she was being too hard on him. It wasn't until she admitted to Carrie her role in Big's cold feet on wedding day (telling him he was crazy to get married) - when she found herself begging Carrie to forgive her - that she was able to consider reconciling with Steve.

I also appreciated the role of therapy in Steve and Miranda's reconciliation, the idea that they submitted themselves to get help, and that their therapist wasn't some kind of new age nut job. And then there was that zinger of a line delivered by Steve, "How am I supposed to trust that she won't hold this over my head forever?" That brought so much complexity into the situation, and made it much less black vs white, or me vs. you - driving home the need to forgive completely.

I appreciated that Carrie, over the course of time, finally came to terms with her own role in Big's cold feet - that she had built up their wedding into a media circus of hundreds of guests, a designer dress, and an announcement in Page Six - losing sight of the marriage itself. She was caught up in the fairy tale drama of her own wedding, and it scared the shit out of Big. Admitting that it wasn't as clear cut as being completely Big's "fault" was what opened the door for them to reconcile.

I also appreciated a movie about mature women finding love and dealing with their issues. Being the oh-so-mature woman that I am (wink), I'm growing tired of the 20-something love story about the pretty girl who just wants to find her prince charming.

One Woman, Many Piles, Much Grace

The Pile I'm Standing In.

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You bring up some great points, Mrs. Zug. I was more than ready to dismiss the movie when I entered the theater, but just can't. It's left me with a lot to think about.

It's not a great movie, by any means. But some of the plot elements were so, well, meaningful that I just refuse to write the movie off. The scenes with Miranda and Steve were especially effective. The more I think about the movie, the more I'm glad I saw it. Love letter to fans of the show or not, at least I feel like I can be happy that the filmmakers did end by emphasizing the necessity of forgiveness, strong and selfless friendship and

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