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Weekend Boxoffice: Sex and the City Shows Femme Power

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood June 1, 2008 at 5:13AM

HBO series-turned-movie Sex and the City demonstrated the power of a femme-driven brand this weekend, scoring an amazing $26.9 million on Friday and an estimated $55.7 million for the weekend, despite middling reviews. Here's Variety's weekend b.o. report, and review. And Carina Chocano's spot-on review in the LAT.
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SexpicHBO series-turned-movie Sex and the City demonstrated the power of a femme-driven brand this weekend, scoring an amazing $26.9 million on Friday and an estimated $55.7 million for the weekend, despite middling reviews. Here's Variety's weekend b.o. report, and review. And Carina Chocano's spot-on review in the LAT.

This is how the big boys behave at the boxoffice, not romantic comedies. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, for example, scored $25 million on its opening day, Thursday May 22-- but went on to score $151 million over the five-day Memorial Day Weekend. Indiana Jones was expected to beat out Sex and the City this weekend, but while it performed respectably in its second frame, Carrie Bradshaw and company ruled the boxoffice roost.

Nora and I went to see Sex and the city Saturday noon at Century City's AMC. The theater was packed with women who laughed heartily throughout. When there was a question of whether or not Mr. Big would get himself to the church on time, you could hear a pin drop.

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The movie is far from perfect, but for fans of the HBO show, it's right on target, expanding the quartet's wardrobe --and Carrie Bradshaw's closet--to out-sized movie proportions. Could it have been shorter, smarter, deeper, better? Yes. It took an awfully long time to reach its utterly predictable--and satisfying-- conclusion. But it was good, mindless, entertaining fun. The audience ate up the Charlotte poop and Samantha horny-dog jokes. And I really wanted Samantha to get it on with the ripped guy next door. Isn't that the point?

It should be noted that this success did not happen by chance. The marketing team at New Line knocked themselves out getting this movie out the door, as Warners took it over.

Will Mamma Mia! and The Women do as well? Unlikely. Sex and the City is an established popular brand. There was an appetite for this movie. But Hollywood regularly underestimates the power of the female audience, and thus tends to starve them. Maybe the studios will wake up and take notice.

This article is related to: Women in Film, Box Office, Summer


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.