The latest box office reports are in, and it looks the latest Shrek film significantly beat out Sex and the City 2 over Memorial Day weekend. As a matter of fact, the spry estrogen romp was also edged out by Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, marking the first time anything based on video games has beaten out anything to do with sex in a sample group that doesn’t primarily live in its parents’ basement.

So why are people choosing the fourth in a now-tired series over what was slated as the next installment in a cult chick flick sensation?  Well, it’s true that critics are hating Sex and the City 2 — Rotten Tomatoes currently shows it at 17% — yet Shrek Forever After isn’t quite their darling either, showing  just a hair above “meh” at 51%. Even so, with such a successful series and first movie to build upon, you should see bigger numbers on a holiday, shouldn’t you?

I’m not a film and culture expert by any means, but if you please allow me to entertain a theory: I think the atmosphere has changed enough that the lifestyle displayed in Sex and the City isn’t as appealing anymore. Perhaps many of the women who wanted to relate to the Prada-laden posse of conceited Manhattanites who so often blindly and ill-advisedly smash their ways through a materialistic high life only to link up into a girl-powered Voltron in the end and sashay off into the sunset with their heads held high, ready to do it all over again… just can’t anymore. Maybe they’ve experienced more of the real world, with its recession and wide range of conflicts, and now see the characters for the tired caricatures they are instead of “OMG I’m Charlotte and Viv is so totally that skank  Samantha! Let’s get appletinis! …What do you mean you can’t afford to tonight…?”

Sure, it’s a family movie and many went for the kids, but is it possible that more and more people are relating to the less-than-world class underdogs who end up just wanting to lead a satisfying life with the ones they love in a hut outside the castle walls? With ogre women who exhibit “girl power” in a more humanitarian way than… human women?

Maybe I’m caught up in a fantasy here, but am I the only one?