Sunday, June 1, 2008

Exceeding Expectations


Early reports are in, and the Sex and the City movie not only nabbed #1 at the box office, but in taking $55.7 million is the best opening for a romantic comedy ever, as well as a TV adaptation, and the fifth-best for an R-rated film. It's also the highest opener for a female-led film (bye-bye, Angelina Jolie's crappy Tomb Raider!--which is another male-oriented action flick. Oh the irony!). Yeah. Suck on that.

Although there was a huge drop between Friday and Saturday (Friday alone garnered $26.1 million), I don't think this spells death-knell for the movie. I think it will still do well in the next couple of weeks, following a typical second-week plummet for blockbusters. Bank on multiple viewings--this is one movie where critical reception will mean naught, and the idea is to get rabid fans to get casual fans and/or females with little exposure to the show (those girls exist) to see it in subsequent weeks. And don't discount those fans who didn't have a chance to see it this weekend. When you even have males like this reviewer acknowledging that he even liked the movie, watch out.

The fact that this movie is an adult movie will also bring in middle-aged married folks. Some teens may have had exposure to the show, but I'll bet more 17 year-olds today are more likely to see High School Musical than Sex and the City, and it's not because of the R-rating; they just missed its heyday, and reruns are no match for the original.

I know people are going to mention Indiana Jones. That's a movie who's so-so ratings seemed to have hurt it, and it's buzz is definitely wearing off. I'm still hearing about Ironman; Indiana Jones, not so much. Indiana Jones feels so old to some people, but the girls of Sex and the City, while also being newer, have the allure of the present and the entertaining luxury to bathe in. Besides--it's seems a good romance can beat an action flick when the final numbers are tallied. Aren't some of the biggest movies of all-time romances, like Titantic and Gone with the Wind?

Of course, success already seems to spell one thing: sequel.

****One thing I wanted to mention in yesterday's entry was the previews for the movie. With the exception of Hancock, all the promos were for meant for a maximum female audience: Mamma Mia! with Meryl Streep, Colin Firth and Pierce Brosnan (it looked fun), the He's Just Not Into You with it's all-star cast (I'm guessing they took situations from the book and fleshed them out?), which is banking on that SATC tie-in, and a Diane Lane-Richard Gere adult romance that has my parents as its target demographic (it's a happier version of Unfaithful). I know movies always have promos that are pretty much based on a strict line of similarity (teen gross out comedy begets teen comedy), but man, did this feel like an estrogen-fest.

1 comment:

Cinematician said...

These days, second day box office drops don't mean anything, even for big budget movies. The drop to watch for is definitely the second week grosses, since that's usually telling if a blockbuster has staying power or not. Personally, I think the odds are good of it making a hefty profit, as the advertising campaign is the most elaborate I've seen for a romantic comedy. There have been a massive amount of bill boards, print ads, and product tie ins. Hell, the only thing missing is little "Carrie Bradshaw" happy meal dolls at Mcdonalds (and with the way Speed Racer, their current promotional tie in, is doing at the box office, it might not be a bad thing for the Mc-xecutives to look at). And of course, there is the incredible word of mouth around this film that has seemingly trumped the lukewarm critical reception the film has received. After all, what segment of society talks more than women do? (yuk yuk yuk)

Of course, I still think your underselling the teenage demographic. Butcher the show though it did, the move to run old eps on TBS and the CW opened up SatC to a whole new generation of people (myself included) who might now have seen it the first time around. Besides, In every other romantic comedy, teenage girls are usually the main target audience, so why should this movie be any different?

The biggest problem I can see for the film is definitely the worldwide box office. Whereas movies like Indiana Jones and Iron man will be able to depend on strong worldwide grosses in addition to their domestic take, Sex and the City will have no such advantage. This is, afterall, a movie about a show, and other people, not seeing the show, might not feel as compelled to go see the movie, especially in parts of the world where the values on romance and sex that are so prevalent throughout the series and the film, are different. Though I haven't looked up the figures for the middle eastern box office, I assume it won't do to well there. It's also generally not a good sign for the worldwide gross to be half that of the domestic gross.

But the domestic gross is strong, and we'll find out tomorrow if it has staying power or not. I don't care what kind of money the film takes in though, I think a sequel might be pushing it. After all, at some point, you just have to look at the characters and wonder: how much more drama can they take? For that matter, how much more can we?