Entertainment Industry

« Previous | Company Town Home | Next »

Movie Projector: 'Sex and the City' ladies to rule over 'Prince of Persia'

PrinceOPersia Just four weeks into the crucial summer movie season, Hollywood is bracing for what could be its third consecutive big-budget disappointment.

Walt Disney Studios' big-screen video-game adaptation "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time," starring Jake Gyllenhaal, is unlikely to open in first or even second place over the lucrative Memorial Day holiday weekend, according to people who have seen pre-release audience surveys. It comes two weeks after a soft launch for Universal Pictures' costly epic "Robin Hood" and one week after a much-lower-than-expected start for DreamWorks Animation's' "Shrek Forever After."

Expected to follow in the footsteps of its 2008 surprise hit predecessor, "Sex and the City 2" should rule the box office roost, the people said, while "Shrek" is poised to land as runner-up on its second weekend.

The three films are expected to divide up the moviegoing audience with women most interested in "Sex and the City," men in "Prince of Persia," and families in "Shrek."

It appears that "Persia" won't draw enough men, however, to make good on its hefty production budget of about $200 million. Several Hollywood executives said the movie was likely to sell $35 million to $40 million worth of tickets in the U.S. and Canada over the four-day holiday weekend from Friday through Monday.

That's right in line with the soft $36-million domestic opening for "Robin Hood," which had a similarly large production cost.

Disney expects "Persia," which was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, to rake in more money overseas, though early foreign prospects aren't particularly bright. Last weekend the film brought in a soft $18 million in 19 foreign countries where it opened early. This weekend it will debut in another 19 international territories, putting it in most major foreign markets.

"Sex and the City 2," meanwhile, appears to be on much stronger footing, though it remains to be seen whether overwhelmingly negative reviews will have an effect. Based on polling conducted before most reviews came out, the second movie inspired by the long-running HBO series starring Sarah Jessica Parker is expected to do at least as well as the first, which opened to $57 million on a three-day weekend in 2008.


Hoping to get a jump on this holiday weekend, distributor Warner Bros. opened the sequel Thursday. By Memorial Day on Monday, it probably will have taken in about $70 million. In its first screenings at midnight, the film sold $3 million worth of tickets, up from $2.5 million for the original.

Like the first movie, "Sex and the City 2" has generated significant advance interest among females, making it almost a "fanboy" movie for women. Through Wednesday it had sold out more than 600 shows via ticketing websites.

The romantic comedy also opens in 19 foreign markets this weekend, including Britain, Germany and Brazil. The first "Sex and the City" grossed a total of $262.6 internationally, compared with $152.6 million in the U.S. and Canada.

Warner's New Line Cinema unit co-financed "Sex and the City 2" with partner Village Roadshow Pictures for about $95 million.

DreamWorks Animation and distributor Paramount Pictures are hopeful that "Shrek Forever After" will ride positive reviews and strong buzz from its opening to a very solid second weekend. Despite playing in 3-D, which means significantly higher ticket prices, the fourth "Shrek" movie grossed only $70.8 million on its first weekend, a 42% drop from the opening of "Shrek the Third" on the same weekend in 2007.

Those who saw the movie last weekend gave it an average grade of A, however, indicating very strong word of mouth. It appears set to take in $50 million to $60 million from Friday through Monday.

-- Ben Fritz

Top photo: Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton in "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time." Credit: Andrew Cooper / Walt Disney Studios

Bottom photo: Cynthia Nixon and Sarah Jessica Parker in "Sex and the City 2." Credit: Craig Blankenhorn / New Line Cinema

Comments () | Archives (5)

Awful … JUST AWFUL. The Cinematography makes : SJP look 100 years older, Abu Dhabi( Morocco) look like a child’s pop out cartoon book, and gives an unfinished, unpolished, unrealistic feel of atmosphere throughout the 2.5 hr disaster movie . Patricia Field should be reprimanded as a costume designer; her pretentious ass needs a time out and a realistic budget. The writer should be FIRED, FIRED FIRED!!!!! SJP totally dropped the ball as a producer. The set designers , directors , and all others responsible should line up to be gunned down with paint balls, so they may see and feel the utterly painful disaster of color misappropriated and flaunted in all the wrong places (i.e. the – out- of- place, inappropriate and gaudy clothing, offending dialogue, tired and worn out one liners not fit for a cancelled sitcom, Smith’s makeup (come on now,the man get 5 minutes and you overload him with concealer!!!!), the lone AA casted as Samantha’s assistant, AND the over tanned leather- like breasts of Sarah Jessica Parker). There is so much wrong with this movie, but I lack the time and passion to entertain this subject any longer……..just in a few short words…………..Soooooo disappointing I cried!

the only reason sex and the city 2 might beat prince of persia is because it had a head start since it came out on thursday.

This weekend just totally sucks for new movies. Thanks for nothing, Hollywood.
My son is bringing over The Hunters with Robert Mitchum. We'll watch that instead of spending cash at the cineplex. Now, what else would be good to watch on DVD this weekend?

- josephlcooke.blogspot

I wonder how well the movie would do at the box office if it was called the "Prince of Iran"? American youth really are the stupidest creatures on Earth.

Prince of Persia flops for reasons that should have been obvious: the marketing emphasizes two actors but no plot. Producers continue to think that we will come to watch an actor, something they ought to know by now only works with Clint Eastwood, Will Smith, Sandra Bullock, Jodie foster...people who use care in their selection of movies and who never let us down. We will go see them no matter what. The movie itself is about....Persia, but what we don't know, and we don't want to take time to find out. And while Jake Gyllenhall may be one of the inside group's favorite actor, he isn't cutting it with the rest of us.


Recommended on Facebook

In Case You Missed It...

Photos: L.A.’s busiest filming sites