Hustlers' opening weekend marks the best opening of Jennifer Lopez's career. The film, which was written and directed by Lorene Scafaria, took the world by storm following its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. Based on the New York Magazine article from 2015 titled "The Hustlers at Scores" by Jessica Pressler, Hustlers tells the story of a group of strippers from New York City who turn to scamming some of their Wall Street clients after the financial crisis of 2008 hits the club's clientele harder than they expect. The film is led by Lopez who plays Ramona, the group's ringleader, and Constance Wu who plays Destiny, her trusted partner in crime. It also boasts an excellent supporting cast that includes Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Cardi B, Lizzo, and Julia Stiles.
The film continues to receive rave reviews and currently sits at 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. Not only did critics gush about Scafaria's gripping script and empowering directing, but Lopez's performance remained at the forefront of everyone's mind. Oscar buzz continues to build for the singer/actress, and the film itself shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. It was originally predicted to have a strong opening, but this past weekend has proved that audiences are falling head over heels for Scafaria's brilliant new film and the female powerhouses that lead it.
According to EW, Hustlers' opening weekend, "marks career highs for both of its leading ladies, Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu." It also marked the biggest opening ever for STX Entertainment, raking in a whopping $33.2 million across 3,250 theaters. For Lopez, this is her best live-action opening ever, coming in at, "over $10 million ahead of her previous record-holder 2005's Monster in Law." As for Wu, Hustlers beat out the, "$26.5 million debut of Crazy Rich Asians." Even though Hustlers dominated this weekend's box office, It: Chapter Two took first place for the second weekend in a row, "running with an estimated $40.7 million across 4,570 theaters."
This weekend also saw the opening of John Crowley's The Goldfinch, which not only bombed amongst critics but majorly flopped at the box office by earning only $2.6 million domestically. Similar to Hustlers, Crowley's feature also debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival. Unfortunately, it was met with scathing reviews following its premiere, which no doubt contributed to its low opening weekend.
Hustlers' success shows that audiences crave female-created and female-led projects. It's a film that empowers through the female gaze and proves that filmmakers can, in fact, tell a story about strippers without objectifying them. Not only that, but the powerful performances at its center help strengthen an already intriguing story. Jennifer Lopez's performance, in particular, is one that's as unforgettable as the fur coat and stilettos she dons in the movie. Hustlers is a home run for Scafaria, her team, and the performers. This opening weekend proves that audiences want to see more female-driven content, and hopefully Hollywood listens from here on out.