It’s all demographics, baby…

Let’s say you create TV shows. If you want to be a moderate success, but have people think you’re a huge success, aim your show at the comparatively tiny demographic that includes the sort of people who write for entertainment magazines.

I think many of us (especially guys) are wondering what the fuss is about the upcoming Sex and the City movie. In fact, how did that movie even get made as a theatrical? Wasn’t the TV show’s audience objectively fairly small?  How do they hope to make back their reported $65 million budget, much less make money off this thing? (Especially following the bewildering reports that the film is two and a half hours long.)

Well, free advertising helps. This week a new Indiana Jones movie is coming out. So what’s on the cover of this week’s Entertainment Weekly? Sex and the City. In fact, it’s a double issue of the magazine, and out of the expanded 120 page count, the first 100 pages are devoted to Sex and the City!! Seriously! One hundred pages of S&TC (including, admittedly, a lot of ad pages), about 20 pages for two weeks worth of other movies, TV shows, books, albums, etc.

I went and looked at last week’s issue to see if the magazine had covered the Indiana Jones movie earlier.  Nope.  The cover story was on Oliver Stone’s upcoming George W. Bush movie.  (!!!!)  Man, that magazine has to be selling like hotcakes.  (This might explain why a year or so ago they offered me a subscription rate of .25 an issue.  That’s right, twenty-five cents.)

  • nicollom

    I hear you! I never could fathom the reasoning behind the success of the show. Even the title of the show I felt was a misnomer. Sure there was lots of sex, but hardly any nudity. Not that you need nudity, however, but still!! Of the four main characters, Kim Cattrall was the only one who actually got down and naked.

  • Chris M

    Ken, Ken, Ken. It’s so simple. Time Warner owns HBO. Time Warner owns Entertainment Weekly. Time Warner does not own, or have a distribution deal with, Lucasfilm. Mystery solved.

    As for the 25-cent issues, as a general circ mag, EW gets a much higher percentage of its revenue from advertising, and really only needs to cover costs on circ. This is true of most general circ weeklies (a dying breed to be sure), as you’ll find that People and Sports Illustrated are often flinging about similar deals.

  • I understand all that, but you have to see this thing; it’s like something put out by a cult. The crazed adoration for this show drips off the page to such an extent that you expect to look up and see an alien swooping down eat you. It’s like something written by a Lovecraft protagonist.

  • Ericb

    You should probably think of EW as a promotional press kit with advertising rather than an old fashioned magazine with actual journalism.

  • Fah! I got eight issues of Entertainment Weekly for free by buying something from Best Buy! Your 25 cent offer impresses no one!

    To be honest, though, I bought that magazine mainly because a minor internet site I was writing for was profiled in one of the articles. (The site master knew someone working in the magazine.) It’s not a terrible mag, though I heard that the quality, low as it was already, has gone down lately.

  • Pip

    They’re just trying to protect a woman’s right to shoes.

  • Tork_110

    I’m trying to lower my expectations for Indy 4. I’m hoping it will be good, but I’ll settle for ok with some nostalgic touches. The early buzz I saw was bad, but the tomatometer has been higher than I thought it would be. So far.

    Have you seen the pictures of Karen Allen? She’s older than my parents but she looks pretty good. I think she had a sip from the Holy Grail.

  • I hardly ever have big expectations for movies anymore, and frankly, I was that big a fan of the last two Indy films. So I expect I’ll find this enjoyable (barring advanced Spielbergitis) but forgettable.

  • Terrahawk

    Ye Gads, 2 1/2 hours. I tried watching the show once and didn’t last 15 minutes. The show is the typical navel gazing of the NY/LA axis.

  • KCPT

    I was a big fan of the series in its heydey, but even I can’t see the appeal in a two-and-three-quarter hour theatrical release.

    I mean, the show’s premise was so unnervinglg simple and repetitive, I don’t see how it’d work as a movie: the girls meet up in a cafe, chat about boyfriends, some issue comes up, the girls chat in cafe again, the girls go shopping, the girls come up with some ‘deus ex machina’ solution to their problems and meet in a cafe again to gloat about it.

    I mean, it took them 45 mintues (15 minutes of ads, remember) to do that on tellie. So in a movie…

  • My wife absolutely worships the show, and in a misguided sense of love and devotion, I bought her the box set of the entire series around when I proposed.

    As someone who has now had to watch the show, the thing that absolutely shattered any suspension of disbelief was how each of the four girls tended to have varieties of the SAME problem (threesomes, ugly men, whatever) AT THE SAME TIME.

    That and the fact that none of the four was remotely likeable, particularly Carrie.

  • Ted

    I’m a guy and I liked the show. The main reason was that it was only 30 minutes (not 45/60!) so each episode (the good ones) was a 3-act mini play focued on one aspect of modern relationships (and not nescessarily 100% realistic)

    2,5 hours seems very long though…

  • BeckoningChasm

    Good grief, it appears to have taken in $55 million in its opening weekend.

    Welcome back, BTW.

  • The Rev. D.D.

    “Of the four main characters, Kim Cattrall was the only one who actually got down and naked.”

    The lady of the house said the redhead doffed her top once’t or twice’t.
    I can’t make myself care about the show overmuch (I don’t mind it but I’m not what could be considered a fan) unless that little brunette did likewise, and I don’t think she did. (Not to insult Cattrall; she’s the only other on on the show I find attractive.)
    Anyway, she enjoyed the show and has been mentioning wanting to see the movie (and drag me along). I need to remind her how long we’d have to sit in the theater for it; maybe that’ll curb her enthusiasm.
    Anyway, we need to see Iron Man first dammit.

  • Matthew Fudge

    As I type there is a billboard for this movie right outside my window. lord almighty. I think the demographic thing is spot on, this was a show that appealed to tv reviewers, magazine editors and advertisers (audiences was young(ish), aspirational, well paid).

    2.5 hours… that’s five episodes! practically another a season!