May 28, 2008

The Double Standard

Sex and the City finally opens on Friday.

Honestly, I really can't wait for this to be over. We need for the movie to make at least $30 million (that's the prediction for the weekend) on opening weekend so that Hollywood will (maybe) finally (again) view women as a legit audience. Yet even as women are making their viewing plans for the weekend and beyond, leave it to the media to do its best to diminish any gains we might make by actually scaring off any guys by saying, in essence, that no guys are going to be caught dead in the theatres interested in seeing this (except of course, for all the gay guys.)

This is such a sexist double standard.

It makes me angry that it is all on women to make SATC a hit. No other film has that burden. As Philadelphia Inquirer Flickgrrl Carrie Rickey and said on her site last week: "Remember when movies -- and books -- were mass-marketed? When studios assumed that moviegoers were equally interested in Working Girl as Superman?"

No movie about men or starring men has ever had to deal with a headline like yesterday's AP story- Can Women Alone Make Sex and the City a Hit? or today's Variety story Sex sells, but will men see 'City?

Think about last year's hit film Wild Hogs. It was about four guys (including Tim Allen and John Travolta) on a middle age road trip. The film opened in March to $40 million, with over 53% of the audience male, and 65% over 25. Even though this was not a film targeted at women, women went to see it because the point is that no one gives you the impression that seeing a movie about four guys going through a mid-life crisis is not worthy of your time and your money.

Even though Sex and the City is going to be a hit what the media and the marketing has done here is to really divide the sexes. I don't blame New Line/Warner Brother for marketing the film this way. They need to make it big and they know that guys would rather not see the "so-called chick flick" so they are eliminating the guilt that women feel when dragging the guys to see these types of films by saying essentially, don't bother bringing him this time, leave him home with his friends and the kids. Give yourself the night out.

I just worry that this has clearly become more than just a movie -- it's an event -- and these types of events are very, very hard to replicate. And also, maybe because it's become such an event (and looking at the pipeline there are not too many others coming down the pike) it will be another excuse for Hollywood not to take women seriously.

But, then, on the other hand, I was heartened to read yesterday on Hollywood Wiretap that someone else has put in writing what I say consistently- that this film (and other films about women) might have some serious legs beyond opening weekend (I really hope someone will keep track)

Because Females 25 Plus are generally not the crowd that always rushes out to see a movie on opening weekend, "Sex and the City" is more likely to open very well and then hold even better in coming weeks. I am looking for at least $30 million on opening weekend, and with nothing particularly adult-skewing until Fox's "The Happening" on June 13, this movie, starring decidedly grown-up women, has a chance to join "The Devil Wears Prada" and "Hairspray" in the very exclusive $100 million Summer Chick Flick Blockbuster club.
Hollywood Wiretap