Will moviegoers endorse ‘Sex’?

The theatrical movie business has been sagging along with the rest of the U.S. economy in recent weeks — none of the summer season hits so far have set any records.
Paramount has to be disappointed in yesterday’s opening day box-office reports on “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” which sold an estimated $25 million in tickets (compared with $50 million for the first day of the final “Star Wars” sequel three years ago).
Last weekend’s big franchise sequel, “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” did $10 million less than the 2005 Narnia movie, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” — adjusted for inflation, this means the difference in the number of tickets sold over the three-day period was more dramatic than the dollar figure might indicate.
Honestly, the so-called “buzz” on the movies released over the past four weekends hasn’t been very strong — many of the people I know under the age of 30 have told me they have no interest in the latest adventure of Indiana Jones (an understandable situation for a movie series that hasn’t been heard from in 19 years).
Meanwhile, the buzz on next weekend’s “Sex and the City” is off-the-charts. The wires are full of stories about women who are planning to make a party of the debut and see the movie with groups of friends.
My colleague Eileen Fischer has written a story for the cover of the Accent section of Monday’s Connecticut Post about the area women who are planning to converge on “Sex” in groups next weekend.
The Internet is full of reports of what the closely guarded plotline might involve and if you do a Google image search there are very racy shots of Kim Cattrall and Jason Lewis in a scene that was shot on a balcony somewhere in New York or Los Angeles (and which is evidence of the film’s strongly worded R rating).
“Sex and the City” is a global brand with astounding power. Millions of very expensive DVD sets of the six-season HBO run have been sold and an edited version of the series is still in heavy rotation on hundreds of TV stations around the country.
The many upscale product placements in the TV series turned designers Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo into household names.
Absolut vodka reaped millions of dollars in free advertising from a mock ad featuring the show’s resident hunk Jason Lewis (above) that was only briefly glimpsed on a Times Square billboard on one episode of the series, but has been widely viewed on the Internet (Absolut never used the ad in a “real” campaign, so this was “viral” marketing of the highest order).
Older moviegoers and the 20-to-40 female demographic are almost never catered to by the Hollywood manufacturers who stock the multiplexes in the earliest weeks of summer, so if “Sex and the City” lives up to its Internet anticipation, expect to see changes in the sort of films that are released in future summers.