Sex and the City fever breaks out in the UK

LONDON - Interest in all things 'Sex and the City' has surged online in the UK ahead of the film's hotly anticipated release tomorrow, which had its world premiere in London.

According to Hitwise, while the UK has seen a surge in online searches American interest in the film has yet to take off ahead of the New York City today.

Following the London premiere of the movie on May 12, UK Internet searches for 'Sex and the City' increased by 223%. For the week ending May 17 there were over seven times the proportion of searches for the term in the UK compared with the USA.

The official Sex and the City movie homepage also shot up the rankings in both the US and the UK. For the week ending May 24 it was the fourth most visited website dedicated to an individual film in the UK, although in both markets it ranked behind 'Indiana Jones' at number one.

One of the beneficiaries of the SATC movie has been shopping websites, which Hitwise says are feeling the 'Sex and the City' affect.

For the week ending May 24, 21% of people visiting in the US went to Fandango to find out about show times and book advance tickets. In the UK, Odeon Cinemas appeared in the top 10 sites visited after the 'Sex and the City' homepage.

Shopping features heavily in new film, as it did in the long running series, and 36% of people leaving the website in the US during the week ending May 17 chose to visit a retail website. Nearly half of these people went to the website of Bitten, Sarah Jessica Parker's apparel collection.

The hype surrounding 'Sex and the City' also seems to have also benefited Manolo Blahnik, the high-end shoe designer preferred by Parker's character Carrie Bradshaw in the movie and TV series.

US internet traffic to reached its highest ever peak this year during the week ending May 10, while UK visits to the site have been climbing dramatically over the last month and reached their highest ever peak last week.