B.O. Update: ‘Sex and the City’ Targets $60M Opening Weekend

SATURDAY 10:00 p.m. (Pacific): Sex and the City (Warner Bros), which enjoyed a meteoric $27M in sales in its first 24 hours, had a much quieter Saturday. At least 25 percent quieter. As of 10pm Pacific, I am calling for $19.31M or so for Hollywood’s new Fantastic Four on day two, which is impressive, considering that most box office analysts, including yours truly, had the movie pegged for a $30M-$35M opening. It looks like Sunday could add at least $14M for a truly remarkable $60M opening weekend.

The truth is that anything over $30M would have been considered a triumph, and the fact that Carrie Bradshaw & friends have a shot at doubling that number is a game-changer in this business. Hollywood has been cranking out the same teen-fueled tent-pole movies summer after summer with an occasional “chick flick” like 2006’s The Devil Wears Prada and last year’s Hairspray added to the mix. The film business cannot afford to ignore women at the box office when they can rally to create a hit this big.

By Monday morning, Sex and the City will be the biggest opening in film history for a movie headlined by a woman, surpassing Lara Croft: Tomb Raider starring Angelina Jolie, which scored $47.7M. It is also important to note that these are not ingénues. Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis, Kim Cattrall and Cynthia Nixon are all in their 40s. To date, the best opening weekend for a movie with a 40+ actress as the true lead was the 1996 version of 101 Dalmations, which featured Glenn Close. That family film grabbed $33.5M in its opening frame. 

Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Paramount) received a very generous 57 percent family audience bump on Saturday, and it is in, essentially, a flat-footed tie with Sex and the City for Saturday. I am projecting $19.23M, which will likely lift Indy 4 to $45M on its second weekend and a new cume of $215.88M. The first Indy movie in 19 years is playing like a flat-out family film, and I still believe that $315M domestic is doable.

Rogue’s The Strangers, starring Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler, has scared up another $7.76M on Saturday, and the slasher pic is headed for a well-above-expectations $20M for the weekend. Iron Man (Paramount) continues to impress with an estimated $6.51M Saturday, which will likely translate to $14.8M and a staggering new cume of $277.43M. Prince Caspian (Disney) plodded to just $5.86M on its third Saturday, and it will wrap the three-day with about $13.31M. With a new cume of $111.87, this very expensive sequel is a long shot to exceed $140M domestic.

Sex and the City will coast to the best per theatre average for the weekend with $18,000+. U2 3D from National Geographic, in its 19th week in release, will enjoy a great three-day PTA of $12,500 or so at eight locations along with IFC’s Savage Grace, starring Julianne Moore, with about the same PTA on two screens. Indy 4 appears headed for the fourth-best weekend PTA , followed by the Will Ferrell-produced The Foot Fist Way (Paramount Vantage) with an estimated $9,375 PTA at four locations.

EARLY 3-DAY ESTIMATES

1. Sex and the City & The City (Warner Bros) – $66.5M – $21,309 PTA $66.5M cume

2. Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull (Paramount) – $42M – $11,174 PTA – $212M cume

3. The Strangers (Rogue Releasing) – $20M – $7,580 PTA – $20M cume

4. Iron Man (Paramount) – $13.8M – $3,589 PTA – $307M cume

5. Prince Caspian (Disney) – $12.6M – $3,157 PTA – $114.65M cume

6. What Happens in Vegas (Fox) – $6.38M – $2,070 PTA – $65.61M cume

7. Speed Racer (Warner Bros) – $2.73M – $1,321 PTA – $41.15M cume

8. Made of Honor (Sony) – $2.51M – $1,319 PTA – $43.47M cume

9. Baby Mama (Universal) – $2.1M – $1,190 PTA – $56.03M cume

10. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Universal) – $1M – $1,316 PTA – $60.42M cume

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