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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

S&TC Is A Internet Ticket Sale Phenom

The MovieTickets.com Top 10 Pre-Sale List of All-Time
1. “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith”
2. “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”
3. “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”
4. “Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour”
5. “The Matrix Reloaded”
6. “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”
7. “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”
8. “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones”
9. “The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers”
10. “Sex and the City: The Movie”
A list that is interestingly missing six – Spider-Man 3, Shrek The Third, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, X-Men: The Last Stand, Indiana Jones IV, and Iron Man – of the Top Ten Openings of the last 3 years (before that, it would seem unfair to expect even the biggest openers to break into this list, as the technology was young). This might be because Fandango had a significantly larger number of the theaters playing those films. But it’s still interesting.
And note that amongst some of the biggest openings of all time, their #4 biggest pre-sale led to “just” a $31.1 million opening.
So what does the pre-sale success of S&TC mean?
I would argue that grown women committed to going and utilized their credit cards more aggressively than teen boys do… as they did in order to take their daughters to see the Miley Cyrus concert film.
What do you think?

53 Responses to “S&TC Is A Internet Ticket Sale Phenom”

  1. LexG says:

    In this case (SATC) I’d suggest what it means is it’s a “coasts” movie, big-time. I just tend to think of pre-ordering tickets, be in online or via phone, as a NY/LA/SF thing. Maybe not exclusively, but most people I know in “flyover” are fairly baffled by this concept. Not too many people pre-order tickets in Kansas, Missouri, South Dakota or Iowa — for any movie — days in advance.
    Other than that slight addendum, I think your final conclusion is sound.

  2. djk813 says:

    Another thing Hannah Montana and Sex and the City have in common is being at fewer theaters on fewer screens at those theaters so sold out shows were bound to be more likely. The Hannah Montana crowd were already primed for sellouts based on her concerts and were prepared to pre-buy. And once the first Sex and the City sellouts appeared early this week, I think it created a snowball effect where people felt they needed to pre-buy. Indiana Jones was so saturated that I never considered that I couldn’t just show up and get into a show. If I wanted to see Sex and the City tonight, I would have realized by Tuesday that I better buy my tickets then. The local theater had it scheduled on one screen, which sold out by Tuesday. They added another, which sold out immediately. They kept adding as they sold out until it looks like by the showtimes they ended up with 5-1/2 screens and are interlocking prints.

  3. T. Holly says:

    The only question left is whether Anne Thompson will join Michael Wilmington’s contrarian view and like SATC.
    Yes, woman plan in advance — Wednesday for Saturday, Friday for Sunday, fertile in two weeks, etc.

  4. The Pope says:

    I haven’t seen the movie yet (I plan to this weekend), but I really don’t see why so many people are so uptight about this picture. I doubt it’s going to be any worse than most of the other pictures on offer this summer. The only thing that will separate it from the others will be the demographic. And that … wait a minute… o, yes of course. It’s the once blatant but now latent misogyny that is driving so much of the media’s reaction. And before anyone howls that there are plenty of women in media today… I have met plenty of Jews who are anti-Semitic.

  5. Cadavra says:

    As of 3:30 PDT, it was at $11.5 mill. Hard to see it not doing 50 at this point unless the WOM is poisonous.

  6. chris says:

    Sound thinking, Lex. Those of us who do not live in California and New York are completely baffled by the Internet, cell phones and the like. Why, we can barely make heads or tails of that crazy J.Crew catalogue, much less think about calling up Fandango on our (outdated, probably) computers, clicking on “Buy Tickets” and filling in our credit card numbers, all while trying to get the hay out of our teeth.

  7. Jimmy the Gent says:

    The Pope has spoken. Finally someone otherthan myself sees the blatant sexism among movie critics regarding this movie.

  8. LexG says:

    Chris, I didn’t mean “baffled” as in unable to figure out how it’s done, or unaware of its existence. I meant that it’s not something that’s really as prevalent or even necessary there. Sorry if it (mis)read as condescending. If anything, I was trying to say we in LA or NY tend to think our experiences are the norm for the rest of the country. For example, see that Captivity controversy about billboards last year, where I was met with crickets when I explained that in most states, they don’t have movie posters at every bus stop and billboards for blockbusters every 20 yards.
    Anyway, my friends in the Midwest and non-NYC East Coast do not “pre-order” tickets, nor are their theaters usually sold out. At least in my personal experience upon visiting or having lived in such parts of the country, moviegoing isn’t as ritualized or as much of an ordeal. Perhaps others will chime in and tell me I’m wrong… I’ve lived in CA since the early days of the Internet, so if I’m mistaken, I’ll gladly admit it. Do people pre-order their tickets on a regular basis in small towns in the Plains states?
    Kind of like “Moviepfone.” I always see Moviefone jokes in sitcoms and cartoons, clearly written by NY or LA-based writers. I always kind of wonder if those gags sail over most of the country’s head.

  9. leahnz says:

    i see it, too, jimmy (often with a dash of homophobia thrown in for good measure)…it’s not a pretty picture. glad to see some blokes speaking up about it.

  10. Eric says:

    Milwaukee WI resident here. Movies selling out are a rare occurrence– only the very biggest movies on opening weekend. And I don’t know a single person who’s ever bought a movie ticket online. There’s just not a need for it.
    I lived in Minneapolis for a number of years and sellouts were a bit more common there. But I think in the areas in which I lived there were just fewer screens. Still don’t recall anyone buying tickets online though.

  11. doug r says:

    Around here, if a movie sells out, you just drive across town or come back for a Saturday afternoon show.

  12. Rob says:

    Once again, Boston here. Everyone pre-buys for weekend evening shows, just as I imagine they do in Chicago, SF, Toronto, Philly and other non-NY/LA cities that are nonetheless densely populated. And yes, we even have billboards and movie ads in the subway too!

  13. sickofbashers says:

    I completely agree with above comments noting the rampant sexism, homophobia and coastal bias in coverage of SATC. Those of us not in NY & LA — who are (gasp) women — actually DO like movies and DO buy tickets in advance. We sometimes even have college degrees and earn more than minimum wage too. When will Hollywood execs realize that women are more than willing to pay to see movies in theaters if the movies speak to and represent them? (and they don’t have to just play it safe by doing the Judd Apatow thing of turning romantic comedies into sensitive men movies!) Oh and Fandango lists several different theaters in Atlanta as sold out too.

  14. Glad to see that this argument has been brought up, considering it’s blatant obviousness. If it were a movie about guys being guys, like say something directed by the Apatow Gang, then it’d be lauded, but because it’s about women doing “frivilous” things and talking about shoes (IN A RECESSION!!!!!!!OMG!!!!!!!!!!heathens!) then it’s literally the worst thing that has ever been made in the history of cinema.
    Lest we forget the case of The Critics V Marie Antoinette. For the prosecution (the critics): TOO MUCH PINK!!!! For the defence (the movie): NOT ENOUGH PINK!!!! It’s like they didn’t know what movie they were watching.
    Somebody over at Hollywood Elsewhere (as loathed as I am to think of that place) mentioned that S&tC is like a James Bond movie. But, as somebody else keenly observed (/sarcasm) at least Bond saves the world in the end!
    hahaha..awww. That’s sad.

  15. Sickofbashers, that was funny! You mean women have equal rights these days? I hadn’t heard…

  16. Hmm, I’d just like to add that even some commenters around these here parts are being a bit revolting in regards to this movie. Apparently the idea of this movie to some people is repulsive and horrendous and they’d rather be castrated that have to sit through it.

  17. IOIOIOI says:

    I watched the entire run of this show. Hell, I will most likely own the complete freakin series of this show on DVD. All of that aside… 230 divided by 23 equals 10! 10 EPISODES OF SEX AND THE CITY IN ONE MOVIE! That’s fucking ponderous, man. Fucking ponderous.
    I understand that there could be a reasonable explanation for the run-time being that extravagant, but it’s still ridiculous. It’s still ridiculous for a comedy to be this long. It’s also ridiculous for a movie based on a TV show to consist of a run time equal to 10 FULL-LENGTH EPISODES OF THAT SERIES!
    If people want to be all sorts of misogynistic and sexist about the flick. They are being gosh darn goofy about this flick. A flick that should really be harassed over 10 EPISODES OF THIS SHOW IN ONE FREAKIN SETTING!

  18. IOIOIOI says:

    I forgot to add, that I never order tickets online. We do have that option here in Memphis, but we also have the option of a ridiculous amount of theatres. If OPTION A fails. I have OPTIONS B, C, D and possibly E within a good half-hour of each other.
    It would seem that you bigger city folks seem to take movies as more of an EVENT. So you treat the ordering of tickets for a movie as an EVENT in and of itself. Which seems logical, but a bit perplexing. Since you live in larger cities. Does this not mean you have countless options as well?

  19. jeffmcm says:

    The movie isn’t 3 hours and 50 minutes, IOI.
    Yes, there are more options in LA, but more people is more people and they all want to see the big movies on opening weekend anyway.

  20. ployp says:

    It’s coming out next Thursday in Thailand and I’ll be there. My sister, who’s in Singapore, told me that she and her three best friends are ready for a girls’ night out. We both have had the entire series on DVD since they came out here. They cost a fortune back then but I love, love them and am glad I have them.

  21. ThriceDamned says:

    Well, Friday for SATC was apparently 26-28m, so the lowest possible number for the weekend we’re looking at is 60m, and the highest probably 75. That’s HUGE, and much bigger than I personally thought possible.
    Interesting that Nikki Finke is reporting 12m Friday for Indy and a likely 37-39m for the weekend, while Steve Mason is reporting 14m and 47m for the three days. That’s the difference between a nice solid hold for a big tentpole, and a movie that’s totally crumbling. Will be interesting to see which one is correct.

  22. udterp says:

    Here’s the thing, there’s no guarantee the movie gets close to $75 million just because it had an outstanding Friday. Movies don’t automatically double their take on each day of the weekend.
    Not saying it’s a definite, but there could be a massive fall-off on Saturday or Sunday because all of the fans rushed to see it on the first day. I’m thinking a $55-60 million take is more likely.
    The unknown quantity is if it can scale down the female interest to teenage girls. The older women were guaranteed Friday, but teenage girls are the ones that can propel a movie into a blockbuster with repeat viewings.

  23. Bennett says:

    Well, I saw the flick last night….One of my wives friend’s backed out at the last minute, so never turning down a free movie, I went…You know I have never had a cinematic experience quite like it. First of all it was the first time my wife bought a advance tickets for anything. Our local 20 plex had it in five screens….ALL screens were sold out from 6:55 till 11:30. I dropped off the girls and went to find a parking space….I had to park at a Target about a half a mile away…The Theater parking lot has never been booked before….
    The theater smartly had many concession people. But it took 15 minutes to wait in line to get into the theater…There was even rent a cops everywhere…
    In the biggest theater they got….All the seats were taken about 10 minutes before it started…All the ladies were dressed up and were quite talkative…Loving every trailer….Though a few booed the Hancock Trailer…Audience was 90% female…..
    And the film….Well, it was a long…..long….episode of the show…Enjoyable…but like fast food…pretty forgetable…I had watched many episodes with the wife and I would think that if you didn’t care about the characters then you would be miserable….The audience loudly gasped…cried…booed….and laughed…I think that the core audience LOVED this film…Unlike the core audience I saw Indy with…
    It is a long sit….The first half is stronger than the soap opera second half….I think that New Line dropped the ball….on how to milk it….Just like Kill Bill did…..They should have realized that two seperate 100 minute movies would have been a better idea…..They could have added a bachlorette party in the first half….and ended with a cliffhanger of Big leaving Carrie at the alter….Then boost the second half with more comedy…Hell, boost the Jennifer Hudson subplot and market her for Part 2….Just a thought….
    I’ll let you guess how long the wait was at the ladies room after it was over….

  24. Direwolf says:

    “The unknown quantity is if it can scale down the female interest to teenage girls. The older women were guaranteed Friday, but teenage girls are the ones that can propel a movie into a blockbuster with repeat viewings.”
    I saw a 4:45 show on Friday with my wife in Evanston, IL. We wanted to later but every show from 6 to 11 was sold out before Friday. FWIW, the audience at our show was a plurality of teenage girls. If that repeats elsewhere, it explains the possibility of $70 million this weekend.
    As for the movie, I am a big fan of the show (I am a 47 year old man, married to the same woman for 21 years). I found i enjoyable and worth the money. I wouldn’t call it a flat out comedy as the second half was quite serious. The second half could have used more comedy. It is perfectly harmless entertainment and doesn’t come close to deserving the extreme nastiness from some critics that DP links to another post.
    The bottom line is that if you enjoyed the TV show, you get a chance to see it again. For many, including myself that is worth the price of admission and sets up an enjoyable few hours.

  25. DON’T.
    POST.
    ANY.
    SPOILERS.
    !!!!.
    Please. I beg you guys. I don’t wanna know that the Titanic sinks again even if it’s obvious.

  26. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way:
    udterp, I think teenager girls (well, the 18 year olds who are legal age) are down with it as well. My friends and I are 22/21 and they’ve all borrowed each others DVD sets over the last few years so I imagine they have done a few ages below. Considering a lot of young girls are trying to be older than they really are, it would make sense that they’re into a show like Sex & the City.
    And while the argument that, at it’s most, the series was only watched by roughly 4mil… well, I doubt $300mil worth of people read the Iron Man comics, either.
    Bennett, it was Miramax (circa Weinstein) who split Kill Bill. Just correcting ya :)

  27. Bennett says:

    I wonder if Warner/New Line/HBO have already called David Chase….”Buddy…have you seen the grosses….yeah……you have had a year off to regroup…Call James and Edie….bang out a script and we could get a Sorpranos movie in theaters by next summer”
    Regardless of who split Kill Bill…I still think that it was a long sit and too much movie for one flick….Though my wife feels that leaving Part One with a cliff hanger would have ticked off the fan base….

  28. Bennett says:

    P.S. all famale demos in my audience….all races…..from 10 till 60…Of course I question whether a 10 year old would like/understand the film….

  29. Bennett says:

    not to keep babbling…..but I am sorry if I gave anything away regarding the film….I thought that the trailer did a GREAT disservice to the film…It gave away major plot points….and it wasn’t funny……….even though I am a minor fan of the show…based on that trailer…I had little interest in seeing the film…It is actually better than the trailer implies it is….How often can you say that about a movie???

  30. I actually skipped the trailer. I saw the first teaser, but that was it. Alas, I was just kind of trying to make sure nobody else did now that a lot of people will have seen it.
    Agreed that cutting it off would have pissed off fans. It would’ve been a riot if they waited all that time only to be left with a season cliffhanger (something I don’t believe the show ever did) and making us wait another 6-12 months for the payoff. No way.
    You’re right though about trailers. I’m surprised more movies haven’t taken a leaf out of The Devil Wears Prada‘s book. Especially for stuff that a bit more formulaic.

  31. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Repeat viewings in the cinema are no longer a given, udterp. DVD takes care of that.
    “S&TC” is also rated R or an equivalent, thus the ushers will be checking ID if you look underage.

  32. IOIOIOI says:

    Jeff: it’s still like 5 or 6 episodes, and that constituted a season one year for this year. It’s ridiculous that they wouyld string together that many freakin episodes in order to make a movie. Seriously… it remains freakin ponderous, McMahon. Freakin ponderous.

  33. jeffmcm says:

    Is ‘freakin ponderous’ from something? You say it like it’s a reference.

  34. The thought of a Sex and the City episode marathon is wonderful, so I imagine many people going to the movie are excited at the thought of it being long.

  35. David Poland says:

    And what drove the attacks on Speed Racer… anime-aphobia?
    All due respect, the movie sucks. And the coverage comes right from that… the female writers even more pissed off than the boys.
    And as far as the carny guessing from Nikki and Steve… they have jumped at “reporting” every twitch and had to backtrack over and over. I wish it would all go away and people could just wait for news to report… but attention disorder – fear of not getting enough – disallows it.

  36. jeffmcm says:

    DP, SatC is getting nastier reviews and attention than any other ‘bad’ movie from the last couple of months. I don’t recall this level of vitriol over What Happens in Vegas or 88 Minutes.

  37. I think a fairer comparison would be Wild Hogs, which got it’s fair share of nastiness, but even that wasn’t anywhere near the level that S&tC has provoked, a movie by which people seem to be offended even exists (omg, they’re buying shoes IN A RECESSION!?!!!?!)
    Dave, I don’t think your response has anything to do with misogyny. You have come out swinging against plenty of male fantasy ego stroking movies. But if you’re not seeing some sexist and homophobic overtones in some of the reviews then you’re not looking hard enough (not that it’s hard. it’s right there in print).
    The worst part of it all though are the “everyday” commenters at places like Wells’ and Finke’s blogs and around the ‘net. It should offend anybody the times people are saying. It’s downright hateful towards a good 55% of the world’s population. “women like shit movies!” “as a straight hetero dude, i’d rather rip my face off than see that movie”, “all you gays care about is fashion!” “sarah jessica parker looks like a horse!”
    Fuck, it’s repulsive.
    And, just for the record, anybody who thinks SJP (or any of the other gals) are “ugly worthless dogs” (as I read somewhere last week) obviously has never left their computer desk since the inception of the Internet.

  38. jeffmcm says:

    Women aren’t 55% of the world’s population, which I’ve seen two or three times here now. They actually make a little less than 50% of the world’s population (thanks, China).

  39. leahnz says:

    yeah, funny how (if i may use the ‘wild hogs’ analogy again) message boards weren’t clogged up with seething women berating john travolta’s appearance or macy’s silly clothes or calling the men a bunch of fat, ugly pigs…and i’ve never heard critics sounding quite so condescending (the ‘gag reflex’, david p? a bit much, even for the crappiest of movies). it makes me sad more than anything else.

  40. leahnz says:

    yeah, funny how (if i may use the ‘wild hogs’ analogy again) message boards weren’t clogged up with seething women berating john travolta’s appearance or macy’s silly clothes or calling the men a bunch of fat, ugly pigs…and i’ve never heard critics sounding quite so condescending (the ‘gag reflex’, david p? a bit much, even for the crappiest of movies). it makes me sad.

  41. leahnz says:

    well, i tried the preview function this time and i still double posted…i ought not to be allowed to blog here, i don’t know what i’m doing wrong (though i don’t seem to have this problem other places…) blech

  42. I thought women were 51% of the population? and then I threw in 4% for gay people as some sort of rough guestimation.
    Leah, it was because women don’t use the Internet. You’re a freak of nature, really.

  43. leahnz says:

    why, thank you! (i think…)
    i visit another blog that’s art-oriented (i’m artsy-fartsy) but we do discuss movies quite a bit; it’s mostly women, and i must say i’ve never seen any seething diatribes against ‘blokey’ movies or the actors in them there, but of course that’s anecdotal at best

  44. Maybe it’s because you realise you live in the real world and that not every bloke looks like Hugh Jackman.

  45. leahnz says:

    pity, that. hugh’s a dish and a half…(he filmed some of ‘wolverine’ down south a while back, supposedly he was very nice and made all the girls swoon 😀 )

  46. Cadavra says:

    55% of the U.S. population is female. Worldwide the numbers are indeed somewhat lower.

  47. jeffmcm says:

    Where are you getting that? I’m finding that in the U.S., women are at about 50.7%. If there were 30 million more women in this country than men, it would be front-page news.

  48. Degrading an American woman for wanting to see S&tC is just like degrading a British woman or an Australian woman or a Turkish woman for wanting to do the same. So my 55% stands. You don’t need to be American to be insulted by the claptrap that’s been thrown out there about this movie.

  49. jeffmcm says:

    It’s not 55%.

  50. Cadavra says:

    Did some surfing; apparently things are changing. It was 55% at one point, but increased male births in the past decade have narrowed the margin. Indeed, for those 65 and older, women far outnumber men, 22 million+ to 16,000,000+. Reminds me of the old Alan King routine in which he reads a bunch of obituaries, each ending with, “Survived by his wife.”

  51. jeffmcm says:

    I’m still curious to know where you’re getting this information, because I have a hard time believing (a) that ten years ago there were 20+ million more women than men, or (b) that some mysterious epidemic of male births have restored the balance – because surely that would mean that almost _all_ babies born in the last decade would have to be male to make the numbers work.

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