Queen Latifah & Jada Pinkett Smith Set It Off Again At The Box Office With “Girls Trip”
Films by Black directors, screenwriters, and casts continue to prove that diverse voices are Hollywood gold. With Straight Outta Compton, Hidden Figures, Moonlight, and Get Out still fresh in our memories, Girls Trip is continuing the recent streak of Black cinema breaking records, winning awards, and driving the conversation about diversity in film. Starring Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall, and Tiffany Haddish, the live-action comedy is already enjoying the best opening weekend box-office draw in its category for 2017 thus far and is poised to keep winning.
Put simply – as the Washington Post reported – “Girls Trip shows — yet again — that movies starring Black women can crush at the box office.” As of today (July 24), the Malcolm D. Lee directed film has grossed approximately $30.8 million, far surpassing its production budget of $20 million. Latifah, Pinkett Smith, Hall, and Haddish play four friends who travel to New Orleans for Essence Festival, along the way delighting audiences with raucous, clever, and raunchy humor that has some comparing the film to the “Golden Age” of Black Film in the 1990s, a la Friday and Set It Off. Of course, Heads will recall that both Latifah and Pinkett Smith starred alongside each other in the latter, a 1996 crime-action film directed by Friday director F. Gary Gray. Set It Off grossed $41 million against a budget of only $9 million, and both Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith were nominated for NAACP Image Awards in the category of Outstanding Lead Actress in a Motion Picture, at the 1997 ceremony.
Earlier this month, Jada stopped by Sway’s studio to discuss Girls Trip, particularly within the context of her previous work with the Queen. Beginning near the 3:45 mark in the interview below, the celebrated actress says the two of them made the decision to do the film while on the phone together and shares her perspective on the cultural significance of this film and Set It Off. “Let me find out we made another classic together,” Pinkett Smith says of that phone call with “La.” With a friendship spanning three decades, she and Latifah’s chemistry on screen is undeniable, and she says that, although “it took us 20 years, we felt really good” about how Girls Trip will stand up against other classic Black films.
Girls Trip was written by Kenya Barris and Tracy Oliver, based on a story written by the pair and another woman, Erica Rivinoja. Also starring Larenz Tate and Luke Cage‘s Mike Colter, it marks the largest opening of director Malcolm D. Lee’s career. It’s currently playing in theaters nationwide.