girls trip movie

It’s safe to say that the summer of 2017 is all about the ladies…and ladies taking long-held beliefs about what makes a box office hit and completely blowing them out of the water.

Though Wonder Woman‘s Gal Gadot (and director Patty Jenkins!) and Atomic Blonde‘s Charlize Theron gave women some new action heroes to admire, one movie that deserves a closer look is Girls Trip. What could have been overlooked as yet another Hangover-esque story, Girls Trip has defied expectations, becoming one of the biggest standouts of the summer season. Sure, it didn’t open at number one, but if blockbusters like Batman v Superman and X-Men: Apocalypse taught us anything, opening weekend means very little in terms of quality. Girls Trip not only pulled in more than its projected debut with $31 million, but the raunchy comedy, anchored by an absolutely hilarious cast of black women, only saw a 36% drop in its second weekend, pulling in another $20 million in its second weekend.

The obsession with the number one box office spot will never go away, but after several weeks of holding strong at the box office (it has earned $88 million against a budget of only $19 million), it is time we address the big question: what can Hollywood learn from Girls Trip? The answer is: a great deal.

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2017 summer movie season

At the beginning of the season, 2017’s summer movie prospects looked bleak. Though Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 kicked things off in May with a strong start, it was followed by a string of generic tentpole movies — more symptoms of the bloated franchise-crazy studio system.

It seems like a distant memory now, but we were once inundated with another Transformers movie, another Pirates of the Caribbean, an unfunny Baywatch reboot, and Guy Ritchie’s misguided King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (Just give us The Man from U.N.C.L.E. 2, Guy!). But then came Wonder Woman, and the tides shifted.

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atomic blonde trailer

(Welcome to What Women Watch, a series exploring what modern women are watching, and loving, on the big and small screens. In this edition, we examine how the films being made for women are changing for the better, as seen in movies like Atomic Blonde and Girls Trip.)

Last week, I went to see Atomic Blonde and I left that theater feeling like a badass. I left that theater feeling sexy. As I listened to two men on the way out say that Charlize Theron’s Lorraine could kick John Wick’s ass, it felt damn fine to be a woman. In the days that followed, the Atomic Blonde soundtrack has become my soundtrack. I listen to it at the gym, while I drive, and even when I sweep my floor. Her capabilities, her complexity, her charm…I couldn’t stop thinking about Atomic Blonde.

On Tuesday I went to see Girls Trip. I left the theater feeling like a badass. I left that theater feeling sexy. As I listened to all of the of women in the room (mothers with their daughters, couples, groups of friends) laughing and cheering, it felt damn fine to be a woman. I was a bit shy about seeing a buddy movie alone, but by the 10-minute mark, the whole theater felt like an old group of friends with inside jokes that we kept from the men in the audience. Those women on that screen, their capabilities, their complexity, their charm…I couldn’t help but feel camaraderie, and a certain amount of pride, in my closest female friends.

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Rough Night Trailer

A dead stripper, a couple of swingers, and a Human Centipede joke. Sounds like the ingredients for a new Hangover movie, right? But it’s actually the plot of Rough Night, the new bachelorette party gone bad comedy opening this weekend.

A female-fronted film with raunch and revelry shouldn’t feel like an anomaly in 2017, yet somehow, it still does. Despite the box office success of Bad Moms, Trainwreck, and almost every comedy Melissa McCarthy has made, each movie of this kind tends to arrive with an odd sense of novelty. Or, at the very least, skepticism.

So why is it that movies like Rough Night – and Girls Trip, which opens just a month later – are still met with curiosity? The reaction is rooted in history.

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Girls Trip trailer

Regina HallQueen LatifahJada Pinkett Smith, and Tiffany Haddish are planning a party vacation to remember in Girls Trip, and you know what that means: things are about to go hilariously, horribly awry. That’s just how these kind of trips go in the movies. But the first trailer doesn’t dwell on the misadventures and hangovers we know are coming. Instead, it highlights the lovable cast and offers a taste of the great times to come. Check out the Girls Trip teaser below.

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