EXCLUSIVE: I’m told that Warner Bros will now aggressively push Diane English’s remake of The Women skedded for release September 12th with wider distribution and bigger marketing in the wake of the success of Sex And The City. This is an about-face from the studio’s earlier decision to leave plans intact for about-to-shutter Picturehouse to debut the chick flick in limited release and with a small P&A. But after weeks of hemming and hawing, Warner Bros now believes that the low budget $16.5M remake could make money. I’m told that as a result The Women‘s marketing budget has moved north from a planned $7M-$8M to $25M-$30M. Back on June 2nd, I criticized Warner Bros for sitting on a pic written, directed and produced by one of the biz’s best women comedy writers (of seminal Murphy Brown fame), and starring a quality cast of Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, Bette Midler, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Debi Mazur, Joanna Gleason, Carrie Fisher, Lynn Whitfield and Cloris Leachman. Forget about the merits of the movie: there’s potential for box office moolah stirred up by some savvy Sex-exploiting, Even if the movie is no good, it could reach SATC‘s two-quadrant audience with ad slogans like: “If you loved Sex And The City, then you need to see The Women who started it all.” After I posted, a top Warner Bros exec phoned me and said, “We should give it another look.” And the studio did. I bet women eager for another pic about female friendships and upscale lifestyles and urban sex will open The Women for a $20+M weekend. If not, well, I don’t own Time Warner stock.

Why Won’t Warner Embrace ‘The Women’? Or Will It?