SATURDAY AM: Here are Friday’s official North American numbers from the studios for the biggest romantic comedy debut — No. 1 Sex And The City truly shocked Hollywood pros by opening with a hanging-from-the-chandeliers $26.9 million from 3,285 theaters. The big question now is whether this staggering wanna-see among women for the HBO Films/New Line/Warner Bros female froth sustains through Saturday and Sunday showings so the weekend total can soar past $70M and maybe even $75M. I’m already hearing that studio moguls are looking through their film and TV libraries to see what else they can produce for the fortysomething-and-older female — a demographic that the entertainment industry generally ignores. Not any more — or is SATC a once-in-a-generation phenomenon? But younger women are also seeing the pic. As one tipster told me, “I saw the throngs of women waiting in line — starting at 9ish and still there at midnight when we got out of the movie. The thing I noticed: the women were all early 20s, not in their 30s or 40s at all. They were 18 to 25. So I’m not sure where people are getting this over-40 demo but I am pretty sure it’s the young girls who are the most excited for this flick.”
Paramount’s megahit Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull fell a slightly more than expected 59% for $12.2 million from 4,264 venues for No. 2. Then again, when it opened a week ago, most people had the Friday off, or half-day off, before the Memorial Weekend. The Spielberg/Lucas actioner should finish the weekend with another $40M-$42M for a new cume of $212M. A real surprise was the No. 3 finish of The Strangers with $7.5M. The horror pic, distributed by Universal, is the highest grossing Rogue Picture to date from 3,285 plays. It cost only $9 million and it should gross around $20 million for the weekend — a successful bit of SATC counter-programming. (Photo of SATC filmgoers by Jim Stevenson.)
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