Sunday Discussion: Will Sex and the City Rattle Hollywood's Cages?
by Alex Billington
June 1, 2008
If you stopped by a movie theater this weekend, I'm sure you ran into crowds of women all dressed up in their finest couture and high heels. The event was Sex and the City: The Movie, a full 148-minute feature film version of the hit HBO show that went off the air in 2004. Back in a Sunday Discussion in January I asked whether the success of Cloverfield would change Hollywood ever, and it somewhat has in a more minor way, but now I've got to ask a similar question. Will the success of Sex and the City this weekend change the way studios look at female-focused flicks? If you remember last October there was a heated discussion about films starring female leads, but now we've got a proven success. With an estimated $55.7 million opening weekend, is this big enough of a hit to change the way Hollywood works?
Reports from this weekend (via Box Office Mojo) not only confirm that Sex and the City made $26.9 million on Friday, with an expected total of $55.7 million, but that Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull only made a measly $45 million in its second weekend. To put it plainly, Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda kicked Indiana Jones ass! It also shattered the previous R-rated opening weekend record of $45.1 million held by American Pie. Honestly, I expected it to do this well, but I don't think anyone in Hollywood did. Those are not numbers to just shrug off, which is why I'm wondering how big of an impact it will have. Will New Line Cinema, now being run by Warner Brothers, take this female-led film to heart or will they just blow it off as a one time, unrepeatable anomaly?
Although those of you who hate Sex and the City may have been playing it off as an instant flop, I knew from the start that this fan favorite TV show would bring in crowds. Just because guys don't like what it is doesn't mean women can't enjoy it. And with Sex and the City, it's an important show for females! Just ask any of them who went out to see it this weekend - they'll spend hours explaining why it's so brilliant and so realistic. I think what studios will take away from this is that female audiences can truly make a film successful purely on their own. You don't need to have a male lead for it to be a success. Right?
However, realistically, I believe this is an anomaly. Like Zack Snyder's 300, you can't repeat the success of something like this because it was a solo hit. If any studio tried to make a female-focused film and release it next summer during the same weekend, it would flop, that's guaranteed. Sex and the City itself and the 10 year reputation that the film has is what made this so successful. The only way this could be repeated is if they followed up with Sex and the City 2 next summer. Hell, for all we know, that could happen!
If you're not just going to bash Sex and the City and instead might have an insightful opinion in relation to this discussion, then I'd ask that you contribute below. This one is tough - I really can't put my finger on it. I haven't been to the movie theater enough this weekend or seen a huge reaction from Hollywood in order to determine how big of an impact this will have. Maybe I'm just out of the loop? I am very curious how the success of Sex and the City will be received in Hollywood. Will Sex and the City rattle the cages of Hollywood?