According to Deadline.com, Universal’sGirls Trip has earned director Malcolm D. Lee not only his second A+ CinemaScore following 2013’s The Best Man Holiday, but also the best opening of his career at the domestic B.O. with $30.4M, beating Holiday‘s $30.1M. This is an incredible start for a movie that cost under $20M, is getting across-the-board positive reviews (plus, Tiffany Haddish‘s viral Will-and-Jada swamp story on “Jimmy Kimmel” exists because of this movie, so even more reason to give it up to “Girls Trip”) and it’s great for comedies in a marketplace. On Friday, the film made $11.7M and eased 5% on Saturday for $11.1M.
RelishMix sees Girls Trip‘s momentum fueled by its cast’s passion to promote on social media. “It’s encouraging to see an entire cast get behind a film — every cast member is social and activated, which is a true rarity. So, many of the YouTube views are surely driven by the super-social cast, led by Queen Latifah’s 18M followers,” reported the social media firm. Jada Pinkett Smith counts 8.9M followers across Facebook and Twitter.
“Girls Trip is a break-through comedy that is providing audiences with big entertainment, big laughs,” said Universal domestic distribution chief Nick Carpou, “Malcolm D. Lee is a master at creating characters and telling stories that resonate, and in conjunction with producers Will Packer and James Lopez, has brought us a fresh, raunchy, empowering comedy.”
In other box office news, World War II drama “Dunkirk” came in at number one this weekend, earning $50.5 million, but sci-fi spectacle “Valerian” crashed hard, collecting only $17M in its fifth-place debut. The top 5 were rounded out by holdovers “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” which earned $22M in its third week, and “War for the Planet of the Apes,” scoring $20.4M in its second.
Although Thor: The Dark World hung on to the No. 1 spot at the box office this weekend, the big story was a stellar opening for The Best Man Holiday, which trounced all expectations to debut with a studio-estimated $30.6-million. Disney’s 3-D sequel Thor: the Dark World took in a solid $38.5-million, which represented an expected 55% drop from its opening weekend when it grossed $86 million.
The Best Man Holiday received a coveted average grade of A+ from moviegoers, according to market research firm CinemaScore. That means it joins an elite club of films that have enjoyed long and fruitful box office runs, including Argo, 42, The Help, The King’s Speech, The Blind Side and Titanic. Going into the weekend, the distributor Universal Pictures projected that The Best Man Holiday would take in a modest $17 million, while prerelease audience surveys indicated the film would start off with around $23 million.
“There’s no crystal ball in guessing this stuff,” said Nikki Rocco, Universal’s president of distribution. “It was fair to think this film— where 87% of the audience was African American—would open in the high teens.” That it nearly doubled that estimate is “a phenomenal result,” said Rocco. “I would never have thought in my most non-lucid moment to expect this — the picture only cost $17-million.” Thanks to the A+ CinemaScore, Rocco says she believes the film will eventually reach a broader audience.
The Best Man Holiday, which is about a group of friends gathering for Christmas, is a sequel to 1999’s The Best Man which grossed $34 million. Both films were directed by Malcolm D. Lee and star a number of the same actors, including Taye Diggs, Terrence Howard and Nia Long.
Jet magazine has teamed up with NBC Universal’s movie The Best Man Holiday to present a scholarship awarded to five deserving college students. The two partners have announced that they will be providing The Best Man Holiday Spring 2014 Scholarship – which has also received the sponsorship from the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
“Jet is committed to the advancement of education for all individuals, especially those in the Black community, and I’m very excited that we have the opportunity to partner with NBC Universal to offer five students scholarship funds that may help further them toward earning a college degree,” said Jet magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Mitzi Miller in a statement.
“I love the first installment of The Best Man because it told a dynamic story of a group of diverse, adult friends who maintained a strong friendship since their years at college. What better way to celebrate such an inspiring narrative than to help a student finish college so they might one day enjoy that same experience.” Students who are interested in applying should submit all materials by Tuesday, October 15 and winners will officially be announced in the November 25 issue of JET.
This week, Universal Pictures released the official trailer to The Best Man Holiday, the upcoming sequel to the 1999 film, The Best Man. Writer/director Malcolm D. Lee is at the helm again, and he has reunited his all-star cast of Taye Diggs, Nia Long, Morris Chestnut, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Monica Calhoun, Harold Perrineau, Melissa De Sousa and Regina Hall for a story set fifteen years later during the Christmas holidays. The movie is scheduled for wide release on November 15.