Sex and the box office

"Sex and the City" does big business and makes Hollywood wonder: Does the female audience have power again?

Published June 3, 2008 6:00PM (EDT)

Despite some pretty crappy reviews and decidedly mixed word of mouth (at least in my neighborhood), the big-screen adaptation of "Sex and the City" made Hollywood jaws drop last weekend when it raked in over $55 million. That's not only more than what executives had been hoping for (predictions were that it might approach the $27.5 million that "The Devil Wears Prada" made in its opening weekend), it was enough to knock "Indiana Jones" from the top of the box office heap; it was enough to break opening weekend records for any R-rated comedy, and in fact for any romantic comedy in Hollywood history.

The news here is not simply that a tepidly reviewed movie made a lot of money, but that the audience was driven by women, the same women who have, in recent years, been almost entirely written off by movie studios. What "Sex and the City's" success might mean for Hollywood's future is anyone's guess, but in a business that has never met a blockbuster it couldn't copy, clone, repeat and write seven sequels for, I suspect that we have a lot more cosmo-slurping in our multiplex futures.

By Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

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