Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Oh, Noes! A Girly Film!!

"There's no getting around that this is a film oriented to women and gay men...It will be very hard to get past that, especially with a lot of testosterone-driven films out there this summer."

Earlier today I wrote this post, put it up for about 10 minutes, and pulled it down. My original discussion MIGHT have been a little unkind to he who uttered those words, one movie analyst named Jeff Bock of Reel Source (for which I can find no website), because I rained all my sarcasm down on his head. Bock's words appear in an AP article that asks the musical question, "Can women alone make 'Sex and the City' a hit?" Bock didn't write the piece, doesn't deserve all the blame, and may well have been taken out of context. (Setting the piece's title and Bock's quote aside, the article seems to be suggesting that interest in the film is wide and deep. In other words, here we seem to have another media-created controversy where none otherwise exists.) Regardless of where or how the idea originated, the suggestion offered in Bock's words set me off. So here I go, slightly revised:

Understandably, Sex and the City is not a film that will appeal to most men. And while Bock didn't write the whole piece and may well have been quoted out of context, he seems to be suggesting that a film that doesn't appeal to men (he oddly calls this film a "paternity test") couldn't possibly make money.

If Bock has not been taken out of context, I'm not sure what, exactly, it is we need to "get around" or "get past" besides nineteenth-century notions about women and agency. Bock appears not to offer his analysis based on anything particularly concrete, such as the enormous following the HBO series had in its original run and continues to have on TBS even in its eviscerated (cleaned up) state, or the clamor for this film that began before the series even ended, or the DVD sales -- currently the 6-season box set (not the "luxury package") is #26 in DVD on Amazon, an interestingly high stat considering that many fans bought the series long ago. The point Bock seems to be making is based on the faulty premise that without men in the seats, movies can't make money. Yet the series has been hand-over-fisting it for years, despite its girly nature.

Anyway, any Hollywood accountant worth her billing hours knows that the box office, which yes, may fall off after the first weeks as is true of many films, is only a small part of the story: it's a film's afterlife that often brings the windfall, and the Sex DVD, which I predict will be released just in time for holiday gift-giving, will bring that windfall.

I think that Bock is equating "hit" with "competition," as in "who makes the most money?" not "who makes money?" (What a testosterone-driven idea!) However, my analysis, based on the excitement I know exists around the film is this: the backers of this film will not regret their investment.

Here's an idea that Bock apparently hasn't factored in: Sex and the City will appeal to many people who have no interest whatsoever in "testosterone-driven films," people whose money would otherwise remain tucked away in their checking accounts. People who are women.

I know two of those people well, and we've already made our girly-date to go see the film on June 3.

(For another take-down on this article, see Melissa at Shakesville.)

(Another SATC analysis, although not based on this article, comes from Philosophy Factory, who is currently vacationing in a different city, Sin City.)


Brave Sir Robin said...


Many of the Theatres in Houston are having a "Dress Up" night for opening night.

I'm sure it will make money, probably lots of money, and no, I don't imagine I'll see it.

That doesn't however, mean it is some kind of "test". Jeez, when will these guys learn that the entire movie going public is not made up of 14-26 year old white males?

Bitty said...

no, I don't imagine I'll see it.

That doesn't however, mean it is some kind of "test". Jeez, when will these guys learn that the entire movie going public is not made up of 14-26 year old white males?

Different strokes for different folks, and kind of the point. Everything can't be a Die Hard or Adam Sandler film.

I don't own anything designer, but I'm going to propose to my pal that we dress up, too. And no, we're not going opening night because we're not crazy. We're sneaking in a Tuesday matinee.

What I really think was happening with that guy is that this movie is something of a one-of-a-kind. As an analyst, he has a problem: there's nothing much from the past (if you look only at movies and not SATC's own past) to compare it to, and it doesn't fit into his own worldview, so he concludes that it can't possibly succeed.

While I was writing the post, I did some searching on stats on top movies (box office), and frankly the list was discouraging. Few of the films I've watched and loved made any of those lists. A few were real surprises (What Women Want was at 101, for instance: ttp://www.moviejungle.com/boxoffice/all_time_tops.asp). Lots of testosterone, yes, but lots of stupidity, too.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bitty:

Yes, let's dress up! Looking forward to it already!