Women Want Their Sex
By David Mumpower
June 1, 2008
The last time a popular television show was adapted into a theatrical release, The Simpsons Movie earned a whopping $74 million, effectively matching the title's $75 million budget in a matter of three days. As recently as ten days ago, a debate existed about whether Sex and the City would prove a strong enough draw to justify its $65 million budget. Sure, the film seemed likely to open well enough, but a lot of people felt that a title that actively alienated 49% of its possible audience would be in some trouble. They were wrong. Way wrong. Wrong wrong wrong.
We knew this by the middle of the week. The New York Post ran a story indicating that a surprising percentage of its pre-weekend sales were from women and that polling demonstrated large groups of them would be attending Sex and the City at first opportunity. No one was prepared for Fandango's next statement on the subject, however. By Thursday afternoon, a full 92% of people making purchases were buying tickets to see Sex and the City. That's right. More than nine out of every ten ticket sales went toward Sex and the City. That's a better percentage than Iron Man or Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull managed, and those two films averaged a $100 million opening weekend. Finally, MovieTickets.com released a story indicating that Sex and the City had moved into its all-time top ten for pre-release ticket sales, putting it on a par with the Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter franchises. So, the entire industry has been anticipating a huge number for Sex and the City. The only question was how high it could get without any support whatsoever from straight men.
The answer is unbelievably high. Sex and the City debuted with an estimated $55.7 million from 3,285 venues, a marvelous per-location average of $16,968. The Sarah Jessica Parker sex comedy debuted with $26.9 million on Friday, effectively matching the entire weekend total of its only true historical comparison, The Devil Wears Prada. The Meryl Streep release earned $27.5 million in its first three days on its way to final box office of $124.7 million. Sex and the City was helped along by roughly $3 million worth of midnight sneaks on Thursday, meaning it had a true Friday performance of $23.9 million.
Given the unprecedented anticipation by women in metropolitan areas for this release, Sex and the City was expected to be hugely front-loaded, as indicated by BOP's own Tim Briody in his column yesterday. Sure enough, this was the case. Sex and the City's estimated Saturday box office of $19.3 million represents a 29% decline from its announced Friday performance of $26.9 million. When we take out the $3 million worth of sneaks, the actual daily depreciation is 19.3%. This is similar to The Simpsons Movie's 22.6% Friday-to-Saturday drop and almost identical to X-Files: Fight the Future's 19% decline. Those films had weekend multipliers (weekend box office divided by Friday box office) of 2.40 and 2.39, respectively. So, Sex and the City's weekend result of $55.7 million is right in line with this sort of behavior.