For years, the conventional Hollywood wisdom has been that the prime moviegoing audience -- the people you need to get into the theaters if you want big numbers -- is composed of males in their mid-to-late teens and twenties. This, the reasoning goes, is the crowd that sees a movie again and again, the audience that can make a movie a blockbuster. But this year's two biggest films, "Pretty Woman" and "Ghost," are examples of what Hollywood considers "women's movies" -- their primary appeal is to adult females, an audience that normally isn't coveted as much by the major studios. Still, that may be changing, especially given last weekend's $7.9 million opening for "Postcards From the Edge," yet another "women's movie." One advantage is that this audience doesn't have to wait for school vacations to go to the movies. But before you decide that these successes mean the conventional wisdom is beginning to change, consider at least one sign that old mind-sets die hard: Jimmy Spitz, Columbia Pictures's domestic distribution president, talking about the great business his company has done with "Postcards," explained why the adult female audience is so desirable: "Adult females normally bring along adult males."

And More Women

Screenwriter Nora Ephron, who's written her share of women's movies (including "When Harry Met Sally ..." and "Heartburn") will soon make her directing debut for 20th Century Fox. "This Is My Life," which may begin shooting early next year, mines territory vaguely similar to "Postcards": It's about a young girl from a Hollywood family who has to come to terms with her mother, a famous comedian. Ephron and her sister Delia wrote the script, and casting is due to begin soon. The writer-director previously had a deal with Columbia, but it wasn't continued when Dawn Steel left her position as company president. Ephron, meanwhile, also wrote the script for "The Super," a comedy that begins shooting in New York next month. Starring Joe Pesci, it's about a slumlord sentenced to live in one of his own tenements after running afoul of the building code.

Here's a buddy film about a pair of cops who, for a change, won't be splattering the screen with their testosterone: "Leda and Swan," which reportedly begins shooting next spring, will star Madonna and Demi Moore. Warner Bros. and producers Joel Silver and Michael Levy aren't saying much about the project, but it's reportedly in the vein of the "Lethal Weapon" movies, which Silver produced. A couple of people involved in "Leda," meanwhile, already have full slates. Madonna, for instance, is due to appear in Woody Allen's next movie in November, while she also plans to star in -- and produce with Warren Beatty -- "Blessing in Disguise" for Columbia. "Leda" director Joel Schumacher will sandwich the movie in between "Dying Young," which he'll make with his "Flatliners" star Julia Roberts this fall, and the movie version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera," which may start shooting as early as next summer.

Short Takes

"Pretty Woman," the biggest movie of the year in the United States, has now grossed more than $100 million overseas. At this rate, it may beat "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" to become Disney's biggest international hit ever... . At-long-last Emmy winner Ted Danson will star in "Whalesong," a story about a young girl who can understand the speech of whales... . The producers of "Airplane" and "The Naked Gun" have lined up several original cast members to star in a "Naked Gun" sequel. Priscilla Presley, George Kennedy and O.J. Simpson are already on hand; now, they're after Robert Goulet to play the villain.