Saturday, June 28, 2008

the contrarian: Withering "Sex"

About a month ago, when "Sex and the City - The Movie" opened in the number one spot with $57,038,404, a lot of ink was spent celebrating its feat and noting how the film had doubled its box-office predictions.

For some reason, everyone was happy about the film's success, as if we all somehow shared it it.

So happy, in fact, that the media conveniently overlooked the film's whopping 62.8% drop in its second week in release. That's huge, but there was no ink - no ink at all.

And the film has been dropping ever since. By week three, it was out of the Top Five.

Anyway, here's how Box Office Mojo reports the film's gross to date:

May 30–June 1 / $57,038,404

June 6–8 / $21,218,305 (a 62.8% drop)

June 13–15 / $9,788,353 (a 53.9% drop)

June 20–22 / $6,532,394 (a 33.3% drop)

June 27–29 / $3,770,000 (estimate) (a 42.3% drop).

The film plummeted and has continued to do so, with no one acknowledging it or offering some theory on its rapid fall.

My take is that the movie disappointed audiences that first week and became a victim of bad word-of-mouth. It simply isn't funny. The series was a comedy; the movie isn't. It's a soap opera.

And who came up with that brilliant idea anyway?

After the film was in release for a week, its star and prime mover, Sarah Jessica Parker, appeared on "The View" and confessed that deciding to do the series on which the movie is based was not easy. She liked the career she had. (I did, too.) "I always thought I had an enviable career," she said. Perfectly put. Prior to "Sex and the City" - which indeed did stop the nice momentum of her career - Parker moved smoothly from stage ("The Substance of Fire," "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," "Once Upon a Mattress") to film, a particularly eclectic slate of films ("L.A. Story," the film of "The Substance of Fire," "Honeymoon in Vegas," "If Lucy Fell," Miami Rhapsody," "The First Wives Club" and two for Tim Burton, "Ed Wood" and "Mars Attacks").

Since the series, Parker's films have been largely uneventful, despite a brave, potentially audience-alienating turn in "The Family Stone."

This certainly would not be the first time that a successful project has stymied a performer. "Sex and the City" - which arguably offered Parker her role of a lifetime - could adversely affect her career the way "Psycho" negatively influenced Tony Perkins'.

So, if "Sex and the City - The Movie" somehow manages to get her movie career back on track, it will have accomplished a lot. She deserves it.

Parker is a really good actress.

If it doesn't, well, one has only to watch the show's reruns and DVDs and savor her turn as Carrie Bradshaw to be reminded of just how good she is.

(Artwork: Variety drumbeats "Sex and the City - The Movie"; Sarah Jessica as Carrie)


Hogan said...

Curious. Not a peep about the film's decline at the box-office. But, of course, only a big opening weekend counts anymore, and "Sex" had a big opening. I'm of school of thought that the second week is the more revealing one.

jbryant said...

I assumed it was just a case of what I believe they call "front-loading" - the people who were really interested in this movie turned out the first weekend. And I'm sure there's been decent repeat business from many of them. But even strong word of mouth probably wouldn't convince folks who didn't watch the series to pony up for the movie. I might've taken a chance on it if I hadn't missed 5 years of backstory. But that opening is impressive, and I can't imagine that the rapid drop-off has been much of a surprise within the industry.

j kaiser said...

It had to happen sooner or later, now there's talk of a "Friends" movie.

5:23 PM