Lifetime's Steel Magnolias teleplay became the network's third-most-watched tele-event ever, transfixing 6.5 million viewers over the weekend. That wasn't enough to dethrone Lifetime's most popular TV offering, 2006's Life Is Not a Fairy Tale: The Fantasia Barrino Story, which has coincidentally reigned the numero uno burrito supreme cable TV movie since 2007.
A cast that includes Queen Latifah, Phylicia Rashad, and Alfre Woodard helped offer a new perspective to the 1989 big screen version starring Sally Field, Julia Roberts, and Dolly Parton. Any guesses on what that new perspective is? That's right — Lifetime's version was filmed in the home of terrible airport layouts, Atlanta, Georgia, whereas the original was filmed in Natchitoches, Louisiana.
Critics greeted the new Steel Magnolias with mostly lukewarm musings about the teleplay's great cast, but many wondered why oh why the movie had to be remade at all. A good answer to that might be: everything is being remade, and, at the very least, Lifetime's Steel Magnolias makes a huge change from the original. Some movies don't make it that far.
Among women ages 25-54, Steel Magnolias became Lifetime's most-watched movie ever, with 2.5 million viewers (it also scored well with the all-important 18-49 demographic, capturing 3 million pairs of eyeballs). The Hollywood Reporter also notes that an injunction against the Lifetime version from the original film's producers was thrown out of court on Friday, helping ensure that audiences everywhere got to revel in Queen Latifah's majesty.