June 6, 2008

Women at the Box Office This Weekend

All the hoopla surrounding Sex and the City has finally helped make some people (mostly the ones in Hollywood with blinders on their eyes) aware that there are others besides teenage boys interested in seeing movies. Now, we just need to see more of those movies in theatres around the country. As I know from the people who contact me, there is no shortage of smart, funny, touching, political and interesting films by and about women -- they just don't seem to get into theatres, and if they do it is mostly in small, limited releases.

As I've said before, what SATC has done more than anything is change the conversation about the potential of the women's market and that is something we all need to figure out how to build on. We are working on coming up with some ideas here at Women & Hollywood and would welcome any thoughts you have.

BTW - Sex and the City had a great week for a total over $77 million in seven days in the US and another 50 million abroad. That's almost $130 million!

The bad news is that there are few new women's films coming up in the next few weeks. While that might help Sex and the City, since it will be the only female-centric option, it sure won't help build any momentum or as we have been calling it at Women & Hollywood - womentum.

Films remaining in theatre:
Sex and the City (has added 40 screens)
Under the Same Moon
Baby Mama
My Blueberry Nights
How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer
Then She Found Me

Heather Graham seems to be opening in a comedy??? about a woman trying to have a baby and finding out she has one egg left. I don't know anything about this film (and since I spend a lot of time thinking about women centric films you know that's not a good thing.)

Sexist Review of the Day

We know that some reviews of Sex and the City have been sexist (according to the website Fantasy Moguls "Rotten Tomatoes presents 139 reviews, 69 percent of which were written by men. Only 49 percent of male critics wrote positive reviews while 51 percent panned Sex and the City. Meanwhile, only 14 of the 40 female reviewers were negative about the box office sensation with 65 percent of women giving Carrie Bradshaw and friends the critical "thumbs up.") but this one in the New Yorker takes the cake.

I'm really ok with reviews that focus on whether or not you like the film, but many of these reviews have been about these looks of these women and whether women could and should be sexual objects. Shame on you Anthony Lane!

Here are the most egregiously sexist lines:

To be fair, there are four of them—banded together, like hormonal hobbits, and all obsessed with a ring.

Next, we have Samantha (Kim Cattrall). Everyone has Samantha, or had her at some point; so she would like us to believe, and this is where the film of “Sex and the City” begins to part company with the original.

Now the whiff has become a blast, and Samantha’s efforts to signal her appeal, which might have seemed languorous on the small screen, are blown up here into an embarrassing semaphore: thudding closeups of her slurping through a cocktail straw or swallowing a mouthful of guacamole.

In a montage of wedding-dress fittings, she honors “new friends like Vera Wang and Carolina Herrera and Christian Lacroix, Lanvin and Dior,” and so on; what I object to is not the name-dropping—think of it as a chick response to “American Psycho”—but the montage itself, which is shot in lazy veils of schmaltz.

In short, to anyone facing the quandaries of being a working mother, the movie sends a vicious memo: Don’t be a mother. And don’t work. Is this really where we have ended up—with this superannuated fantasy posing as a slice of modern life?

I walked into the theatre hoping for a nice evening and came out as a hard-line Marxist, my head a whirl of closets, delusions, and blunt-clawed cattiness. All the film lacks is a subtitle: “The Lying, the Bitch, and the Wardrobe.”

But the kicker (which I can't blame on Lane ) is this David Hughes cartoon I'm disgusted.

Army Wives Creator Katherine Fugate Answers Questions in Advance of Sunday's Season Premiere

The second season of Army Wives kicks off this Sunday night at 10pm. The show picks up with everyone struggling to get through the aftermath of the Hump bar bombing Suffice it to say, no one is the same. For those of you who have never seen it, this show is about the women (and one man) whose spouses are in the Army. Some are deployed overseas, some work on the local base, but all are married to the army. It's a show about relationships, endurance, loneliness, longing, and a lot of fear.

It also features a high ranking African American woman, (Wendy Davis as Lt. Colonel Joan Burton) who has worked so hard to rise to an incredibly important position, but is also struggling with her marriage. As this season begins she also has to decide how to deal with her unplanned pregnancy.

In a poignant moment during the season premiere, Kim Delaney (as Claudia Joy the mother hen and wife of the base commander) is taking her daughter Amanda (played by Kim Allen) to college and is asked by Amanda if she regretted having to leave law school when she became unexpectedly pregnant while in law school. She shockingly says yes. You never hear that on TV. Honesty.

The show was the highest rated new series on Lifetime, and even the presidential candidates are getting behind the show with both Barack Obama and John McCain taping messages in support of military families to air in advance of the show.

Katherine Fugate created the show based on the book Under the Saber: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives by Tanya Biank. She serves as one of the executive producers and her other writing credits include Xena: Warrior Princess and the feature The Prince & Me (the first one, with Julia Stiles not the cheesy second one.) Fugate answered some questions in advance of the season premiere.

Women & Hollywood How did you come to create Army Wives?

Katherine Fugate: The Mark Gordon Company sent me the non-fiction book on which the series is based. I assumed the book was meant to be adapted into a feature film as I had spent the majority of my career writing movies. The major thrust of the book was a journalist's investigation into a series of true crime murders at Fort Bragg, but I fell in love with the military world itself. I was moved by the wives' camaraderie, their love of their soldiers and their service and sacrifice to our country.
I was also swept away by the grand tradition and imagery of military life, the enclosed community, the hierarchical infrastructure - and of course, the gossip and sex. It had everything! So I met with Deb Spera, the president of the MGC, and pitched a feature film adaptation of the book, beginning and ending with a murder. About 10 minutes into my pitch, Deb stopped me. I figured she'd heard enough and was showing me the door. When she asked why my pitch sounded so much like a movie, when the project was for television, I explained all I received was the book with an empty buck slip with her name on it. No other explanation was given, so I just assumed... After a hilarious beat of mutual confusion, we got on the same page and took the television series to ABC, then Lifetime. It's been a great honor and challenge and I will always be grateful for the opportunity to shine a light on this heroic world.
W&H: You covered some pretty intense issues last season. What issues will you be covering this season?
KF: The military exists in a world that deals with life-and-death issues on a daily basis. That creates a heightened sense of reality. When you watch the news at night - that downed helicopter or Humvee hit by an IED could hold your husband. The last phone call you shared with your spouse could literally be your last. Everything you do gets magnified. You are so awake - so achingly aware of every moment, every opportunity. It makes for a dramatic backdrop that affords great storytelling. We'll be exploring issues of sacrifice, death, camaraderie and life-or-death decisions. Our show is about the personal relationships themselves. This is a life of such great impermanence. Every two or three years you pack up and move, making new relationships in a city you didn't choose. This allows us to bring new faces onto Fort Marshall all the time.
One issue the real Army wives continually bring up is the reintegration process when the soldiers return home. How they've changed after being on the battlefield. Often the soldier expects to come home to everything exactly the same way it was when they left, even if they've been gone for two years. But life has moved on. The wives have changed. So have their children. You can't just pick up as you left with so much life experience that you didn't share together. So now, in some ways, you are forced to fall in love all over again, with your partner, your children and the country you left.
W&H: Most people really don't have a real understanding of "army wives." What do you want people to know about the show and the real army wives that they might not get from the general press and marketing info?
KF: The Army wives serve too, as much as the soldiers. Their sacrifices benefit us all. They've been in the shadows too long and when you fully understand all they give up for our country, you can't help but be moved. They become single mothers for months, even years at a time. They combat prejudice, loneliness, the fear their partner could be killed at any moment. Yet, they find the beauty in life to a greater degree than most. They understand the immediacy of love. But most of all, they have a support system we don't see in civilian life. They show up for each other, they get each other's backs. It's a world we could all learn from. At the core, our show is about love. And the sacrifices you make for love: of your country, your friends, your family, your husband or wife. That's what Army Wives is about - and you get a real sense of pride knowing that.
W&H: Is it different writing for a show where you know that the primary audience is women?
KF: I personally don't set out thinking I am writing for an audience of women, men, dogs or aliens. I actually write for the subject itself - to illuminate who I am writing, not who I am writing for. I seek out the flawed beauty, the imperfections that make us all human beings.

Take the lessons learned and throw them out there. Embolden some souls. We tell stories to laugh, cry - but ultimately to learn from each other. For me, it's not that you stumble and fall - but how you get up that matters. Who you become is the story. I am also a true lover of melodrama - of writing directly at the heart of the matter. Not sidestepping the drama, but excavating it. Unearthing it until it gets messy and honest - but very real. I suppose that would appeal more to women, than men. But who knows? It's my understanding Army Wives has a great cross-over appeal. I even know men who watch the shows when their wives refuse to!
W&H: You have written both films and TV. What is the difference for you as a writer?
KF: They are vastly different experiences. I didn't realize how much until I started the process on Army Wives. As someone once wisely said, "you don't know how much you don't know." Yet, at the same time, writing is writing and requires the same sort of inner depth and exploration, messy regurgitation of the soul, regardless of the medium. Even this interview requires me to be in an open place and speak from the heart. That's the only way I know how to approach writing - no matter what the genre or format. But the work requirements are completely different. TV is far more immediate and requires you to wear many different hats.
It's far more an office job with long hours, water coolers and your hand attached to a cell phone. It easily becomes a 24/7, 7 days a week job, too, so if you need your teeth cleaned, do it now. Because once the season starts, you'll be lucky to read a fortune cookie.
Features are far more solitary. Scripts can take years to write, rewrite and produce. You're often alone, in your own world. There is less interaction and far more introspection. You get many drafts and opportunities to explore that draft. With feature writing, you get more time for nuance, to digest, to walk away and pick up a script a week or a month later and look at it with fresh eyes. A TV episode has to air on a specific date or you have an hour of black screen, so you're sprinting from day one until the end of the season.
In TV, during season 1 of Army Wives, there were times when I had 24 to 48 hours to write a script from scratch that had to be production ready. The stress factor is completely different.
W&H: Since this is a show that focuses on women, are there more women in the writers room and does this show give more opportunities to women writers?
KF: We are always looking to tell the best stories that we can for these characters. So that means hiring the very best writers that we can. We do very much encourage female writers to submit material during staffing season. Our show is very female-centric, from the studio and network executives, to the producers, and of course, our cast. But ultimately for hiring writers - what matters is having good material and a passion for the subject matter.
W&H: While women are more prevalent as TV writers than in film the numbers are still no where near acceptable. What advice could you give someone who want to make a career writing for TV?

KF: My best advice would be: Do your homework. Make relationships. Understand how it all works. Develop an elephant thick skin. Accept this is a business. Be a professional. No one cares about your feelings. Now you have the armor - the sword and breastplate to go into battle. Then remember you're an artist. Your passion and your sensitivity are what make you a good writer. Don't lose it. Don't become hard and bitter. Put your heart and soul on the page. There will always be someone who doesn't get you, doesn't like what you do. Expect that. Accept that - and move on. There will be others who will recognize your voice, what you are trying to do with your work. Be open to them. They will take your material even farther. They will help you reach your goals - this is a collaborative medium, after all. You can't do it alone. You can't act, direct, produce, light the scene, dress the set and stock craft service with multi-colored cheese plates.

Lastly, don't just like what you write. Love what you write. If you truly think you're the one meant to write this story, then write it. Believe in it. Stay in your light. The first step is the word. The story. That's your part in this. Own it and the rest will come to you.
Show premieres Sunday, June 8 at 10pm on Lifetime.
Army Wives' brings home a female perspective to war (USA Today)

June 5, 2008

Yuck Ads from Showtime

Showtime is pairing the new season of Weeds starring Mary Louise Parker (who I love) and their new show the Secret Diary of a Call Girl (which I know nothing about, but can imagine what it is about.)

I saw these ads on a big billboard in the NYC subway system and gagged.

News Briefs

Here are a couple of things of worth noting:

  • Showtime has ordered 12 episodes of the United States of Tara written by Diablo Cody and starring Toni Collette as a woman with multiple personalities. Alexa Junge (Friends) will serve as showrunner as well as an executive producer. Steven Spielberg is also an executive producer. Pilot was directed by Craig Gillespie (wouldn't this have been a perfect opportunity to have a woman director?)
  • Hilary Swank and producer Molly Smith have launched 2S productions with a first look deal with Alcon Entertainment based at Warner Brothers.
  • Holly Hunter received a star on the Hollywood walk of fame last week. Here's an overview of some of her accomplishments: Holly Hunter Finds Grace (Variety)
  • Fox optioned Julie Buxbaum's novel The Opposite of Love for Kara Holder to adapt.
  • Keke Palmer has been cast as the lead in the Nickelodeon pilot True Fashion said to be a combination of "Big meets The Devil Wars Prada." "Show centers on a 15-year-old tapped to head the teen division of a major fashion label." (HR)
  • Barbara Kopple is partnering with City Lights Television on a documentary series titled 3 Americas, which will explore how class affects the day-to-day lives and behavior of three American families of varying socioeconomic status. (HR)
  • Natasha McElhone will star in Heaven & Earth as the first female British doctor who had to disguise herself as a guy in order to practice. Marleen Gorris directs the $15 m film which shots at the end of the year.
  • French screen diva Fanny Ardant will make her directing debut with the family drama Ashes and Blood, which she also wrote. (HR)
  • HBO is adapted the British prison drama Bad Girls. Oscar nominated writer Nancy Oliver and Raelle Tucker are writing the adaptation and they will executive produce with Eileen Gallagher. "Co-created by Gallagher, Maureen Chadwick and Ann McManus, Bad Girls has been praised for its portrayal of the complex relationships among female inmates.“ (HR)

MadCat Women's Film Festival Looking for Submissions

MadCat seeks provocative and visionary films and videos directed or co-directed by women. Films can be of any length or genre and produced ANY year. MadCat is committed to showcasing work that challenges the use of sound and image and explores notions of visual story telling. All subjects/topics will be considered. Submission Fee: $15-$40 sliding scale. Pay what you can afford. International entrants may disregard the fee.

For more details go to www.madcatfilmfestival.org.

Preview Formats: VHS or DVD. Exhibition Formats: 35mm, 16mm, Super8, Beta SP, Mini DV, VHS, DVD. All entries must include a self addressed stamped envelope for return of materials. Previews will not be returned without a self-addressed stamped envelope. Early Bird Deadline: Nov 3, 2008; Late Bird Deadline: Jan 12, 2009

June 4, 2008

Sex and the City Aftermath: Will it Save The Women?

Looks like The Women, a movie that nobody would touch or even talk about for months is getting a new lease of life in the wake of Sex and the City's success.

Hooray. Can't say anything about the film cause I haven't seen it, but all I know is that it has a prime release date of Columbus Day weekend for months and then when Picturehouse (the distributor) got sucked into Warner Brothers (aka the studio that hates women) it looked like The Women was going to be dumped into a small release on September 12th. This 15 year in the making labor of love for Diane English was made for the paltry $16.5 million and stars some serious women including: Annette Bening, Meg Ryan, Jada Pinkett Smith, Debra Messing, Eva Mendes, Bette Midler and Candice Bergen.

Here's what a Warner Exec said to Nikki Finke at Deadline Hollywood: "We should give it another look."

Take a look at the trailer for yourself (this is the best quality trailer I could find). Seems kind of funny to me.

Do you think it will do better in the wake of Sex and the City? Will the hungry women's audience come out again?

PS- Sex and the City took in $5.5 at the box office on Monday making it the best non-holiday Monday of the year after Iron Man. News flash to Hollywood, women do go to the movies during the week. I'm excited to see how the rest of the week goes. Between the domestic numbers and the $37.5 its taken in overseas it it almost at $100 million and that's in less than a week of release worldwide. Incredible.

June 3, 2008

Final Thoughts on Sex and the City

Hollywood has a very short memory and it's Tuesday now and Sex and the City is in the rear view mirror as two more typical summer entries prepare to bombard the theatres this weekend -- Adam Sandler's Don't Mess with the Zohan and the animated Kung Fu Panda. Neither one of those films interests me in the least.

But what was unprecedented, as I've said before, is that for a short time Hollywood shuddered and paused to think about women.

I'm not naive to believe that a film that was built around an event, was marketed brilliantly, and played up all the materialism and issues we are all nervous about in this recession, will change a mentality that has been dismissive at best and at most times down right antagonistic to women -- especially those of us who dare to age.

I'm impressed that a movie starring four women who actually have lines on their faces were embraced by women across the country and the world -- overseas the film made $37.2 million since last week-- in such large numbers.

I think the point is that something larger is happening and this movie didn't cause it, it just reflects it. Whether or not you are a Hillary Clinton fan there is a gender conversation happening in this country, and women (especially those white and over 60) are angry. Did the fact that we are living in a highly gendered moment help drive women to the box office? I don't pretend to know the answer to that. All I know is that the last few months women have been talking about things and letting anger show (see all the Hillary Clinton articles) that was just whispered about before.

Sex and the City as a film is not groundbreaking. It's really a typical chick flick -- a film with some feminist messages but with pretty clothes and a happy ending. It fits perfectly into the chick flick genre in this "post-feminist" world.

But think about it, over the last several months women have been surprising Hollywood and this weekend is just further confirmation of that fact. Remember Juno? Changemaking movie. About a girl, written by a woman and embraced by everyone. Remember 27 Dresses? Opened to $23 million on a dreaded January weekend and has raked in over $155 million both foreign and domestic for a film that cost $30 million. How about Baby Mama? Opened at $17 million and has raked in $56 million since April 25. Does anyone remember these successes?

The big question that looms is, will the success of this film (which was the largest opening for a film that starred a woman beating Angelina Jolie's breast cones in Tomb Raider by almost $10 million) mean anything when other successes over the last years (The Devil Wears Prada, Something's Gotta Give- god I hate that we keep having to repeat those two films because THERE ARE NO OTHERS TO NAME) have done nothing to create more opportunities for women onscreen.

Again, I reached out to others for their thoughts as to whether anything might change and here are some of the highlights (names appear after the quote.)

The film is striking a chord. My feeling is that we'll be seeing many more iconic tv series, whose runs have ended, brought to the screen, like FRIENDS. Just a hunch I have. Good news though, in that no one in the industry predicted this kind of box office. After THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA and this film, I have a feeling we'll be seeing many more women's films set in the NYC fashion world. My daughter and her friends aren't label conscious at all, but still like PROJECT RUNWAY. Go figure??!!
-- Gale Ann Hurd, Hollywood producer of Aeon Flux, The Terminator films and this summer's The Hulk among many other films
I predict that there will be more Sex and the City movies but very few other changes in what types of movies Hollywood makes. I fully expect studio execs to explain away this weekend by saying the only way to get women to the box office is to have a tv show promote the movie for ten years before the movie gets made. The thing is they aren't interested in making movies for women because a) most of the heads of studios are men and b) the only thing those men assume other men (the only people who go to movies) find interesting about women is whether or not we are going to sleep with them.

Who we are, what we are curious about, what we are interested in just terrifies them. And now that we've proven that a movie that practically no men went to see can make 60 million in it's opening weekend, they're even more terrified. Because if they admit the truth, you don't need men to open a movie, then Hollywood would actually have to change. They might, for instance, have to hire a few more women and they certainly don’t want to do that.
-- Hollywood TV and screenwriter and woman who loves movies but hardly ever goes anymore
What "Sex and the City" teaches us is that it is unwise to ever underestimate the clout and power of women when it comes to the box-office. However, a film like this does not come along every week and any attempt to emulate or replicate this success, will be difficult. "Sex and the City" is a cultural phenomenon that combined well-rounded and truly distinctive characters with stories and situations that truly resonated with female audiences. Carrie Bradshaw and Co. gave women their very own "Indiana Jones" or "Star Wars"-style blockbuster. Can a "Sex and the City 2" announcement be far behind?
Paul Dergarabedian, President, Media By Numbers
The box office success of Sex and the City PROVES that there is a female movie-going audience out there with massive buying power that will come to the movies if stories are offered that relate to their experience -- Hollywood could make a windfall if they spent as much time developing and crafting movies about women as they do with the latest dude-centered comedy or comic book extravaganza. I'm sure studio executives will dismiss the box office as being solely based on Sex and the City's television run, but that just goes to show that female brands can do as well when properly exploited -- after all Spiderman and Ironman and Indian Jones are all pre-sold brands as well. Women have been ignored at the box-office for too long -- I'm hoping the studios will get off their asses and greenlight a slate of movies that will actually address the half the human population that is dismissed each week.
-- Angela Robinson, director, Debs and Herbie Fully Loaded
I think we need to be really careful about throwing out charges of "sexism" or "misogyny" when it comes to critique of this film's quality or skepticism/caution about What it All Means for the future of the industry. I think it's true that if you give women something they want to see, they will pay to see it. Nevertheless, in a world of niche demographics, I think lumping every female moviegoer in the country in the same bucket will prove, going forward, to be dangerously reductive. That's the lesson here––if we can agree that this same film wouldn't have had nearly the impact if it was "just" a 2.5 hour dramedy about women in their 40s and not an event pulling on a powerful nostalgia within the culture, then we should be able to agree that this success is more about branding than gender. If anyone can find another brand that means this much to this many women, maybe it'll translate into an equivalent hit. (America's Next Top Model: The Movie, perhaps? I'm not being totally facetious––that shit is huge.)
-- Karina Longworth, Spoutblog
Is this popularity founded on the perception of the group - as women are very big on being social, on connecting, and having girl friend getaways, or coffee klatches, etc. Now, I connect online, to hundreds of women, rather than a few good friends locally. It's the connection, and the women of Sex and the City have it.

Another thing I wonder, that Hollywood should be paying attention to, is that women (and not a few men, I think) love that personal touch. That face2face thing. While we are all prominent in social media, we hunger for the face2face connection. Sex and the City is proving that women go to the movies too, and they aren't shy about doing it in groups. The whole "me and my girl friends are going to see Sex and the City" thing was really big... it harkens back to a day when women were comfortable out with each other, "manless" if you will. The movie really did expose (in a good way) women's thoughts, feelings, and dreams...much better than some other movies, like Thelma and Louise - two women who were supposed to be strong and smart, but were dumb and weak (hence, they ended up driving off a cliff...the only ending that movie could have because, after all, wicked women like that do not belong in society, right?)

I hope we can see our way to recognizing the power of the purse -- to drive ALL sales in the U.S. Even movie sales. The worry is that women in Hollywood are not in positions of power. They still have to convince a man that their idea is worthy. If another movie like Sex and the City is pitched, it could be a hard sell. Despite the box office results. Men just don't want women intruding on their turf. Sad, but true.
-- Yvonne DiVita, marketingtowomenonline.com
What they can learn is that women are a valuable demographic, like it or not. While some of us don't feel like we're included in that group - I hate most Kate Hudson movies, for instance - when it's this massive, it's worth paying attention to.

The tribal movies with women, like The First Wives Club or Steel Magnolias seem to do better with audiences than films about singular women on a journey. Why is this? Probably because women aren't likely to shell out their hard earned dough liberally; it has to be something with a marginal payoff. If they know they're going to laugh and have a decent enough time they will probably rush out to see the film. If it's just one woman and they don't like the woman, they won't go. This is what explains the popularity of Meg Ryan and Julia Roberts way back when: they were women most women liked, as well as men. Now, these seem to be divided. I blame this on the current trend of catering to the target demographic.

I think the youth/gossip culture has done serious damage to women 40 and above. In the useless battle to stay young the benefits of aging are lost. Producers should take note, actresses should take note - there is still a market for stories about women with flaws. Sarah Jessica Parker has liver spots and man hands. She has had no work done. Cynthia Nixon is a woman who would never be cast as a sexy female lead in a Hollywood film were it not for the popularity of Sex and the City. Better Midler, Barbra Streisand, Whoopi Goldberg have been proving for years that flawed females sell yet there is constant pressure put on actresses like Nicole Kidman to be thin and wrinkle-free and most of all, young looking or else face not getting any good parts.

The point is that perfection doesn't sell nearly as well. This weekend proved that when women want to see a movie they don't have to ask mom and dad for the money; they just need to get out their debit card.

Is Sex and the City a good movie? Not really. But neither was the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull or just about any other money maker this year. What else is new? What's new is that women's films, without crossover appeal for little boys, can stand perfectly well on its own.
-- Sasha Stone -- Awards Daily
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.
Anne Thompson Thompson on Hollywood(from a posting)

Hollywood Feminist of the Day: Ashley Judd

For standing up for women's rights: “A woman’s body is not the property of any church, state or other human being...”

She's testifying at the UN on Wednesday on the issue of human trafficking.
Ashley Judd: Women’s rights key to ending poverty

June 2, 2008

The Aftermath of Sex and the City

I'm working on putting together a longer more thoughtful piece that will come later in the week, but I put together this overview for the Women's Media Center.

Unless you've been under a rock for the last week or so you know that the women from the TV show Sex and the City are back this time on the big screen. Four years after we said goodbye to Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte, the women have taken the movie industry and the country by storm, besting all projections with an opening weekend take of almost $56 million dollars.
Check out the full piece here: A Women's Cultural Moment

Here are some points of note that I've picked up from the coverage:
  • Women made up 85% of the audience on Friday night.
  • More men were in the audience on Saturday when it played more like a typical romantic comedy date movie.
  • Warner Brothers (a studio that does not have a good track record with liking women centric films) called it a "cultural phenomenon"
  • Kim Catrall already has her next job lined up. The lead in the HBO comedy Sensitive Skin about a middle-aged NY wife and mother, who begins to question her choices in life as well as her sexuality
Stupid line of the day goes to The NY Times: "Grown-up women have never exactly been absent from the big screen. Women’s roles have been as complex and varied as Helen Mirren’s turn as Queen Elizabeth II, which won her an Oscar in 2007, and Meryl Streep’s performance as the semi-monstrous fashion magazine editor in “Prada,” which turned into a box office smash."

Gee wiz- two women over two years? Kind of proves the point of why women are desperate for women's stories- doesn't it?

June 1, 2008

Sexist Blog Comment of the Day

Jeff Wells from Hollywood Elsewhere who earlier called Sex and the City a "Taliban Recruitment film" has bested himself by publishing the most misogynistic column in response to Sex and the City's box office success.

It's also, arguably, an indication that a certain portion of middle-class American females -- pre-teens, teens, 20- and 30-somethings, middle-agers -- are, no offense, social dimwits and aesthetically clueless saps with the collective depth of three or four quarters laid on top of each other.

The single biggest negative for the image of African Americans over the last 15 years was their widely reported elation when O.J. Simpson was found not guilty. People read those stories and saw the video clips and said to themselves, "What...?" The SATC phenomenon, I submit, is on a par with this -- a cultural snapshot showing everyone in the world how utterly shallow and culturally nowhere mainstream American women have become, for the most part. If, that is, they continue to embrace this film over the next few weeks. One weekend's worth of enthusiasm doesn't make it a bona fide hit.

I'm obviously not speaking of women who are educated X-factor urbans, academics, journalists, hipsters, poets, creatives, etc. I mean the average American suburban woman with her fucking credit cards who sees herself as being "in the game" regardless of her age.
In one fell swoop he manages to offend every woman in America and compare women's interest in seeing a film to a murder trial where one of the victims was the accuser's wife who he had beaten before.

Jeff, you are officially an asshole.