Why Didn’t These “Twin” Female-Starring Comedies Get the Same Treatment?

Girls Trip poster

It’s not unusual for Hollywood to put out two movies with similar concepts at the same time. The latest example is a pair of female-starring R-rated comedies about bachelorette party weekends.

Rough Night, starring Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, and Zoë Kravitz, came out last month from Columbia/Sony. It cost about $20 million to make and made only $8 million its first weekend, so it’s considered a bomb. Good cast, but the plot, about these women killing a stripper, sounded like a downer, not really material for a comedy, and it got mediocre reviews.

Rough Night poster

There was discussion about audiences not liking raunchy, gross comedies much any more, but then…

Girls Trip, starring Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Tiffany Haddish, and Regina Hall, came out this weekend from Universal. It cost about $20 million to make and had an opening take of over $30 million with an A+ CinemaScore, coming in second for the weekend.

Girls Trip poster

We can talk about differences between these movies, such as whether the second is more attractive because the plot is more light-hearted or whether it did better because its stars are more connected on social media, but the big distinction is obvious: Girls Trip was tagged as a “black” movie.

As this article points out, the movies were

marketed so clearly to different audiences.

While the stars of Rough Night were featured on the cover of Cosmopolitan and Elle magazine, whose readers include a higher percentage of white women, the stars of Girls Trip graced the cover of Essence magazine, marketed primarily to black women.

Now, Girls Trip takes place at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, so that’s an understandable tie-in. But why wasn’t it also pitched to a wider audience? How well could it have done with the same kind of promotion, as Jeff Yang pointed out on Twitter?


  • Mel

    It would be so much better if the R rated stuff would stop and material was predominantly family friendly.

  • Jesse the K

    Good job pulling the threads together.

  • Thanks, Jesse.

    Mel, I’d also like to see more lighter-rated comedies, but I don’t think they need to stop making R movies. It’s not either/or.

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