by TRN Staff Writer,
Jada Pinket-Smith is one of the stars lighting up the big screen this summer in a movie that’s all about the girls. “Girls Trip” is about four friends who plan the ultimate road trip to the Essence Festival as they try to get their groove back. Queen Latifah, Regina Hall and Tiffany Haddish complete the all-star cast in the comedy that raked in $30 million at the box office its opening weekend. Now $30 million may
The movie got some good word of mouth chatter on social media from fans and the media….
“Girls Trip” caters to African American moviegoers–a smart move since Black moviegoers make up about 51% of ticket sales. But bigger than the box office earnings is the fact that this movie is breaking barriers. The Hollywood Reporter calls the film”bold” with “characters that are highly relatable” and a story that “speaks a universal language“. The New York Times says “Girls Trip” may “seem tamer than a movie like “Rough Night.” But “Girls Trip” is also funnier; it’s also more appealing because it knows that there’s more at stake existentially for women, and especially for black women, than out-grossing men.”
The true beauty of this film is that it dispels a Hollywood stereotype that Blacks, especially Black women, have no pull at the box office. “Girls Trip” beat out “War for the Planet of the Apes” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming”(both films opened earlier this summer). The Washington Post says “The movie’s success comes as debates about diversity in Hollywood continue to gain steam. And the past couple of years have shown that although Hollywood traditionally undervalues movies with black and female leads, it is only to their peril.” Blacks have proven their appeal at the box office with hit movies like Hidden Figures which was not only an Oscar nominated film for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay, but it was the top grossing film in the Best Picture category grossing almost $170 million domestically and worldwide raking in $230 million. With a calculated net profit of about $95 million after a cost of $25 million to make, “Hidden Figures” was one of the top 20 most profitable films released last year.
While few films matched “Hidden Figures” in both money and critical success, Black films still left a huge mark on 2016. According to ShadowAndAct.com there were a total of about 20 films that starred Black actors last year. Some under performed studio expectations like Will Smith’s “Collateral Beauty” which earned only $17 million or the much talked about “The Birth of a Nation” which fell victim to a lot of negative press surrounding director and star Nate Parker just prior to release and ended up with a box office earning of about $16.5 million— far less than projected . But even obscure titles like “Queen of Katwe”($8 million) and “The Bounce Back”($321K) still found audiences. ShadowandAct list the top five earners starting African American actors last year as:
1 – “Central Intelligence” $127,440,871
2 – “Ride Along 2” $90,862,685
3 – “Boo! A Madea Halloween” $73,206,343
4 – “Barbershop: The Next Cut” $54,030,051
5 – “Almost Christmas” $41,782,465
Hollywood needs to realize films like “Girls Trip”,”Moonlight”, “Hidden Figures”, “Central Intelligence” and franchises like “Barbershop” and “Madea” are proving that Black actors, directors and films are not exceptions to the rule, but they are the rule that prove these movies are competitive at the box office. In a summer when movies like “Wonder Woman” and “Spiderman” dominated, it’s comforting to see that a movie like “Girls Trip” has its own breed of superheroes.