Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sarah Smile.

Just as her smile lit up the red carpet at the New York premiere, her big screen turn as Carrie Bradshaw lit up box-office and girl's night out parties all across the country. The big headline on Monday was that Sex and the City beat out Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls to take the number one slot at the box-office with more than 55 million in sales, topping some estimates by almost 100%. (Though we can't believe anyone seriously thought this movie would do less than 35 mil. in it's opener.) That achievement in sales sent a strong message to the movie industry that women as a target audience (that's women, not prepubescent girls) could indeed make a bona fide Hollywood hit.

There's also a second headline that is just as clear but seems to have garnered far less attention. That story is that Sex and the City is all about Sarah. Sarah Jessica Parker is the movie, is/was the HBO series and is the core of why and how this all happened. Sarah Jessica Parker is a movie star. It is her charm, charisma and talent that makes the cocktail dresses and shimmering back drop of New York all seem to sparkle. As Mary Tyler Moore was to a Minneapolis news room, so is Sarah to the City.

So what's a studio to do? Is there another Sex silver screen script hitting the executive desks at Warner this week? The temptation has to be seductive for movie marketeers. But what of focusing on Sarah? Is this the kismet of the perfect role and the perfect actress or is there more? Parker's career has been long and successful, but not terribly varied and there's never been that "award" role that could offer a bit of timelessness for her screen resumé. What there has been is an abundance of sheer "likability". Perhaps put on best display in Sex and the City is her ability to standout among standouts, somehow commanding the screen and our memories even when surrounded by powerful and capable actors. Her roles never get swept under larger performances and her charm can cut through the weakest of story moments.

Our prediction is that, if they haven't already taken place, feverish meetings and frenzied phone calls have the execs at Warners thinking the "S" and "F" words that are today's favorite
 touchstones of Hollywood, sequel and franchise. Whether Sex and the City returns in 2010 or 2011, or never again, Sarah Jessica Parker will be back and she's a sure bet to eclipse all that's come before. The most exciting thing about this past weekend for movie fans, men and women, is the door that just opened to the possibility that Carrie Bradshaw may become the second most memorable character of Sarah Jessica's Parker's career.

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