Can a pure chick flick become a hit? Yes, if it draws a diverse enough swath of female moviegoers. For "Sex and the City," that will be the big question.
There are indications that the film, which opens Friday, May 30, is attracting a lot of interest from women of all ages - not just the age of the four lead actresses, who range from their early 40s to just over 50.
"We can't remember the last time a movie has created so much anticipation among female moviegoers from their 20s through their 40s," said Harry Medved, a spokesman for Fandango, the online movie ticket site.
Medved said many women seem to be planning to go in groups. "We are getting a surprising number of requests for group ticket sales from women planning 'Sex and the City' get-togethers," he said.
It's not just the ticket sellers who are noticing the trend. Abbey Greenberg, co-owner of a specialty cookie company, said she's been getting calls by the dozens for her stiletto-shoe creations.
"It's been crazy," said Greenberg, of The Flour Pot, which is based in Ambler, Pa. "They start out by saying they want the shoe cookies. Then they say they need them for May 30th. Of course it turns out it's for a 'Sex and the City' party."
Often, the hostesses say they'll be drinking Cosmpolitans before the movie, too - the favorite drink, as fans of the HBO series well know, of sex columnist Carrie Bradshaw and her pals, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte. Sometimes the hostesses add that they'll be dressing up in high style, as well.
"This movie just calls out for a girl's night out," said Greenberg, 27, who herself plans to see the film with a group of women, although not opening night, and not specially attired. "I'll wait until it's less crazy," she said.
Fandango, which is the largest online ticketing service but still represents a fairly small percentage of total sales, surveyed buyers who'd just purchased tickets for the film.
As of May 23, 67 percent of more than 2,800 who filled out the survey - a self-selecting group, to be sure - planned to see the film in a group of women. Only 6 percent said they were going with a man, and 16 percent said they were going with one other woman.
Oh, and asked their gender, 94 percent of ticket buyers said they were women.
You only have to look back two years to "The Devil Wears Prada," another female-oriented film heavy on fashion (with the same costume designer) and juicy female characters, to find a movie that scored big despite an overwhelmingly female demographic.
But there's a difference: "Prada" was rated PG-13, whereas "Sex and the City" is rated R, with good reason, as any fan of the often explicit series knows. That will severely limit the teen audience (those under 17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian).
"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" drew families in droves to achieve the second biggest Memorial Day weekend opening ever, with an estimated $151.1 million in the U.S. and Canada from Thursday to Monday. By contrast, industry projections have "Sex and the City" bringing in from $25 to $40 million in its first three days.
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