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David Poland

By David Poland

Sex & The City… As Dead As SJP Wants It To Be

The never reliable Daily Mail (UK) published some story about Sarah Jessica & The Girls giving up on any future Sex & The City films. The source… “Grazia.”
Simple math. The film, however hideous, grossed about $250 million worldwide.
SJP is the only member of this group that may ever see a seven-figure offer again… or in recent years.
So… it’s simple. If she wants S&TC 3 to happen, it will. If not, not.
To make it happen, she’ll need to do the film for the same – or maybe less – than the first feature. The budget will have to fit a projected $150 million worldwide gross. And if she is willing to do it for that, it will happen.
By the way, no SJP-starring film, other than Sex, has ever grossed as much as that $150m. It would still be a big movie for her too.
Pay $1 million per for the other three women, scale and back-end for SJP… below the line of $30 million… and voila, you have a movie.
And you know what? With less ego and less money, there is some chance that they will find the spirit of the series again.
One problem perhaps worth mentioning… if they wait too long or not long enough, the whole thing will dry up. In 20 years, they can do a revival with the four women watching 20something women do what 20something women are doing then. Or they can do S&TC3 in 2014, at the latest.
Part of the problem is that these actresses are already a little (okay…maybe more than a little) stuck in between young and old. I would probably take a leap in time that doesn’t match reality, and give Charlotte and Miranda teens or at least pre-teens as Carrie gives birth at 45. Endless sexual ennui just isn’t very attractive in women of that age… even for women of that age… at least at the movies.

3 Responses to “Sex & The City… As Dead As SJP Wants It To Be”

  1. D says:

    Why don’t they do what aging action stars, or their producers, always seem to do nowadays: hook them up with a younger sidekick to hedge their bets (“Live Free or Die Hard” is a recent example). Add one or two younger women to the mix, with Carrie and company taking the new girls under their wing and giving them all kinds of fun advice, some of which might work out and some of which will lead to disastrous hijinks. Then, if the new girls catch on… there’s your FOURTH movie.

  2. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Making the government of Abu Dhabi angry is one thing. Pissing off the target audience is another.
    Here’s a sequel to a hit movie based on a long-running TV show, fueled by corporate synergy, boosted with breathless hype, promoted with product tie-ins, released with a hard sell at inflated prices … and its total gross in the USA is under $100 million. Put those elements together and the product is the most blatant example of a Rip-Off Summer.
    Time Warner and Village Roadshow are gonna look long and hard at the post-mortem. No more sequels for this overhyped franchise. Make movies that grown-ups can relate to, just don’t bury them in the arthouse.

  3. CaptainZahn says:

    Sex and the City 2 had some good things in it. The ideas about creating your own rules in a relationship and doing what works for you were pretty bold and challenging for a Hollywood movie, and I liked the scene between Miranda and Charlotte at the bar in Abu Dhabi.
    Everything else was incredibly lazy.

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin