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Sex And The City: Why It's A Hit At The Box Office

Sex And The City cast members
AP
Sex And The City cast members

Hollywood's theory that it takes teenage boys to make a blockbuster, was totally overturned this weeked by "Sex and the City."

The movie, from Time Warner's New Line brought in $55.7 million in its first three days, double what Warner Bros. was expecting and making it the biggest R-rated comedy opening of all time.

And its opening weekend is number five for all R-rated films, falling behind '300' and 'The Matrix.'

The huge difference this time around; success for "Sex and the City" is driven entirely by women. Warner Bros. reports that a full 85 percent of the audience its huge opening Friday night was female, a ratio that shifted only slightly over the weekend as women dragged more boyfriends and husbands along.

Looking at the numbers, more women went to see "Sex and the City" this past weekend than went to the opening weekend of 'Pirates of the Carribean," which had one of the biggest weekend openings ever.

"Sex and the City's" success is huge for Time Warner's movie division--there's already talk of a sequel. The film will likely bring in at least $110 million domestically based on its opening weekend, and if DVD sales of the Sex and the City HBO series are any indication, the home video sales of this movie will also be enormous. Then there's all the product licensing and spinoff, and well, it looks like Time Warner is looking at a female-driven goldmine.

Ironically, this hit happened too late to save New Line, which produced and distributed it, a division that Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes is now rolling into the company's other studio, Warner Bros. And even more ironically, this movie took years to get off the ground--if anyone had predicted this kind of blockbuster it would have been out years ago.

Sources inside the company tell me that HBO actually turned down the opportunity to turn their hit TV show into the film. While HBO does make movies, it was less interested in building a franchise, and more interested in focusing on its own more artsy fare.

Good news for the movie industry all around: this weekend's box office was up 27 percent over last year's same weekend. And I think it's a good thing that Hollywood can now try to build giant films on an audience other than the "fanboy" --the teenagers and twentysomethings that will obsessively blog about a film in anticipation, guaranteeing a big opening weekend turnout.

Now there's a new kind of fangirl, one that's a prime target for the slew of big brands partnering with the production. (Go here for my blog on product placement "In the City").

It'll be tough to find a brand that has the same kind of build-in audience that Sex and the City does, but if anything that means we're more likely to see a sequel.

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.