If prerelease predictions are any indication, Jennifer Lopez is poised to make a notable box office comeback this weekend with the debut of Hustlers, a female-ensemble film also starring Constance Wu.
The movie is tipped to gross $25 million in its domestic debut — a career best for Lopez in terms of a live-action pic, not adjusted for inflation.
Directed by Lorene Scafaria, the critically acclaimed Hustlers is based on a 2015 New York magazine article about a group of strippers who team up to con male patrons in order to survive the Great Recession. Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Lizzo and Cardi B also star in the fall festival darling, which drew particular praise for Lopez’s performance when making its world premiere recently at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Hustlers, which currently has a score of 95 percent on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes and has garnered Lopez early awards buzz, opens everywhere Friday and appears destined to be a much-needed win for studio STX Entertainment, which has suffered a string of misses at the box office.
In 2018, STX’s Second Act — Lopez’s last live-action film — debuted to a relatively soft $6.5 million on its way to topping out at less than $40 million domestically.
Monster-in-Law — released more than a decade ago in 2005 — stands as the biggest live-action opening of Lopez’s career with $23.1 million, not adjusted for inflation. Directed by Robert Luketic, the comedy co-starred Jane Fonda, Michael Vartan and Wanda Sykes.
Lopez was a prolific presence throughout the first decade of the new century, starring in both dramas and romantic comedies (The Wedding Planner, Angel Eyes, Enough, An Unfinished Life and The Back-Up Plan). There was also the much buzzed-about bomb Gigli, co-starring her then real-life paramour, Ben Affleck.
For much of the last decade, Lopez has lent her voice to animated movies, including Ice Age: Collision Course, Home and Ice Age: Continental Drift. In addition to Second Act, she starred in the ensemble live-action pic What to Expect When You’re Expecting.
Hustlers opens a little more than a year after Jon M. Chu’s Crazy Rich Asians, starring Wu, transformed into a sensation. The romantic comedy debuted to $26.5 million on its way to grossing $238.5 million globally.