Girls Trip opened to rave reviews and swarming audiences on July 21, raking in $30.4 million in its opening weekend — yet another reminder to the Hollywood film industry that black-directed and -led projects are well worth investing in. The R-rated comedy — starring Tiffany Haddish, Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, and Jada Pinkett Smith as four friends who reunite on a weekend getaway to New Orleans, and directed by Malcolm D. Lee — was the no. 2 film of the weekend, second to Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk.
And its enormous success is only highlighted by the fact that Rough Night, a similarly premised white-directed and -led movie only brought in $8 million during its opening weekend last month, even despite outspending Girls Trip by $1 million.
The two films drew comparisons early on for their similar themes, marketing, and timing, calling attention to the ways productions are still racially segregated in Hollywood. But with the opening box office numbers in, both are serving to illustrate what audiences and filmmakers from marginalized communities have been saying for decades: Diverse racial and ethnic representation in media is not just socially important, it’s what consumers want and are willing to pay for.