Friday, June 20, 2008

If You Make It Fabulous, Women Will Come…

In the admittedly fading shock of the record-breaking $57 million opening weekend of “Sex and the City: The Movie,” the media and the industry are still reeling from the now-proven fact that WOMEN SEE MOVIES!!!!!?! Like it’s some earth-shattering, blow-your-hair-back epiphany among the historical likes of THE EARTH IS ROUND!!! and SMOKING CAUSES CANCER!!

But why exactly is this a revelation of blockbuster proportions? I, along with others rockin’ the lovely lady lumps, have spent the better part of three weeks pondering this exact question. I do understand that I am a woman who loves movies. In high school, I worked at a movie theater. In college, I arranged my work and class schedules so I was free one day a week before noon to take the bus to the AMC 18 and watch one (or two) movies. As an adult, I saw “ Troy ” a whoppin’ three times just in the theater. I understand that I walk to the beat of my own drum. However, for an industry that created the entire “If you build it, they will come,” mantra, it’s actually insulting to think that Hollywood execs see young men 18-34 as THE demographic, but don’t think the same of their female counterparts.

In all actuality, the answer is simple. You don’t need test screenings and market research to figure out what “Sex” proved and what television showrunners already figured out: women will see GOOD movies, just like they flock to GOOD television shows as proven by “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Closer,” “Lipstick Jungle,” and “Ugly Betty.” With its multi-Emmy-Winning six seasons on HBO, “Sex and the City” already won over the hearts of singletons and marriedtons alike. The advent of DVDs and the extraordinary word of mouth helped catapult the show into a new, bigger arena of popularity. (I watched 2 weeks of nothing but “Sex and the City” when cable went out in my apartment. And I am teased for listening to the smooth vocal stylings of Michael Patrick King’s episode commentaries when I’m writing. I can’t wait for the movie to come out on DVD just for that reason.)

Furthermore, the astounding success of the “Juno,” the underappreciated "Definitely, Maybe" and “The Devil Wears Prada” just drive my point home. Women want movies that yes, have a bit of flash and glamour and fairytalish whimsy, but are also poignant, unformulaic and emotionally grounded. In short, they want their movies to be just like “Sex,” unpredictable and unbelievably satisfying. Contrarily, Hollywood seems to think that all women just like fluffy, asinine predictable rom-coms ("Made of Honor" and "What Happens in Vegas) in which our buxom, blonde, bubbly heroine obsesses about marriage, babies, and the men that did them wrong.

I sincerely hope the success of “Sex and the City” prompts Hollywood to look for insightful, provocative scripts about women of all ages, shapes and colors that are genuinely good, action-packed and dramatic and yes, emotional. But tinseltown moviermakers be warned: while you’re undoubtedly rushing to crank out 18 “SATC”-copycats, please note that like Carrie Bradshaw and Co., we don’t do knockoffs.


Anonymous said...

You were able to stomach Troy 3 times? I'm impressed. Not even Brad's ass would make me sit through that shite again.

And much as I loved SATC, it was as formulaic as any other romantic comedy. Which is fine, because most romantic comedies with big budgets need a formula. So long as the writing's good, I could care less.

K said...

I'm a sucker for action. I have that movie memorized.

Any kind of story follows the same general formula, but SATC wasn't predictable and it didn't feel like it. It felt new and different, because of the writing.