Looks like everyone associated with the hit film “Girls Trip” is making out big time. The crowd-pleasing movie starring Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall and breakout comic actress Tiffany Haddish grossed $31.3 million in its opening weekend with a sequel surely on the horizon.
Meanwhile, its director Malcolm D. Lee and his Blackmaled Productions were rewarded with a first-look production deal with Universal Pictures. The cousin of legendary director Spike Lee has directed five of his nine films to date with Universal beginning with his directorial debut, the critically acclaimed audience favorite “The Best Man.”
Among his upcoming feature projects covered in the agreement are “Night School,” starring Kevin Hart, as well as “The Best Man Wedding,” which he will write and direct.
“Girls Trip” producer Will Packer is also reaping the benefits with a pact to form a company with Discovery Communications and Universal Pictures. Will Packer Media will be separate from Will Packer Productions with the upstart giving Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network first look at pilots.
The new company has also acquired Narrative, a creative and technology agency co-founded by Russell Simmons.
Among Packer’s announced upcoming projects are the aforementioned “Night School;” “Ride Along 3,” with Hart and Ice Cube; “Jacob’s Ladder,” featuring Michael Ealy, Jesse Williams and Nicole Beharie; “Breaking In,” starring Gabrielle Union; and a TV series based on his “Think Like a Man” films.
Q’s NEW JUKE JOINT: Grammy-winning producer and composer Quincy Jones continues to make moves like the mogul he is. The music industry is abuzz with the announcement of the formation of Qwest TV, billed as the world’s first subscription video-on-demand platform dedicated to jazz and jazz-inspired music forms.
Scheduled to debut this fall, the network will make available to subscribers a selection of content including concerts, documentaries, interviews and archival footage on mobile devices and computers for a monthly fee starting at $7.49. Pre-launch subscriptions will be available starting Sept. 6 via Kickstarter.
“The dream of Qwest TV is to let jazz and music lovers everywhere experience these incredibly rich and diverse musical traditions in a whole new way,” said Jones, winner of 27 Grammys and an Emmy. “Over the course of my 70-year career in music, I have witnessed firsthand the power of jazz — and all of its offspring from the blues and R&B to pop, rock and hip-hop — to tear down walls and bring the world together.”
Qwest TV has secured international rights to more than 400 titles and plans to acquire an additional 600 titles within its first three years.
ALL ABOARD: The first “Ship-Hop” cruise will set sail next Jan. 11-15, from Miami to Key West and Cozumel, with many of the all stars from the “I Love the 90s Tour.” Salt-N-Pepa with Spinderella, Naughty By Nature, Blackstreet, Coolio, Color Me Badd, Kid ‘N Play, Sisqó, Tone Loc, Biz Markie, Vanilla Ice, Rob Base, Young MC, All-4-One, DJ Kool and C+C Music Factory are among the icons taking to the stage and mingling with passengers. Book your cabin now at www.shiphop.com .
CLIPPETTES: Due to a family emergency for one of the members of Tears for Fears, the group has pulled out of its concerts set for July 28 and 29 at Staples Center. Daryl Hall and John Oates were sharing the bill with Tears for Fears …
Poncho Sanchez & His Latin Jazz Band will headline a concert and picnic benefitting Musicians at Play Foundation and MEND Poverty at Ford Theatre …
“Chronology,” the debut album from 24-year-old Jamaican music phenom Chronixx, has been released in advance of his appearances this fall on the Lauryn Hill/Nas tour …
Ernie Andrews, T.C Carson, Barbara Morrison and a 9oth birthday tribute to trumpetist Clora Bryant (the only female jazz band member in the classic “Anna Lucasta”) are among the many features of the 22nd annual Central Avenue Jazz Festival (July 29-30) from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. between King Bouelvard and Vernon Avenue …
Miki Howard, DW3 and others are taking to the stage of Taste of Inglewood on July 30 at Edward Vincent Park. Later that evening, the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival will present its seventh annual Culver City program at the Veterans Memorial Building; and Lionel Richie and Mariah Carey perform at Anaheim’s Honda Center …
Taraji P. Henson has been named host of the 2017 “Black Girls Rock” ceremony honoring Roberta Flack, “black-ish” co-star Yara Shahidi and more. It will air on BET Aug. 20 …
Ro Brooks (“The Haves and the Have Nots”) is in the cast of the highly anticipated Middle East sci-fi/drama series “Medinah,” which had its world premiere at Comic Con …
“Trouble in Mind,” a scathingly funny backstage drama about interracial politics by pioneering African American playwright Alice Childress, begins a run this weekend through Sept. 30 at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga.
TC ON TV: July 28 – “The Incredible Jessica James” (Netflix): Jessica Williams (“The Daily Show”) stars as a young, aspiring playwright in New York City who is struggling to get over a recent breakup. Chris O’Dowd (“Bridesmaids”), Lakeith Stanfield (“Atlanta”) and Noël Wells (“Master of None”) co-star. “All Access” (Showtime): Mayweather vs. McGregor. “Room 104” (HBO): Melonie Diaz (“Fruitvale Station”) stars as a challenged babysitter in the premiere of this new anthology series produced by The Duplass Brothers. “The Tonight Show” (NBC): Desus & Mero, Penn & Teller
July 30 – “Unsung” (TV1): The Dramatics
July 31 – “Late Nite Chef Fight” (FYI): Laila Ali hosts this culinary battle of top Las Vegas chefs taken out of their kitchens and plopped into food trucks.
Aug. 2 – “Queen Sugar” (OWN): This second season summer finale has arrived way too soon.
Aug. 3 – “Nuts + Bolts” (Viceland): Follows musician, designer, record and TV producer Tyler, the Creator as he seeks to find out how some of his favorite things are made then endeavors to re-make those things tailored to Tyler’s own creative vision.
TASTY QUIP: “No, I did not f*** my way to the top. First of all, I’m not at the top so that would have been a very poor f*** if that were the case.” – ISSA RAE on “The Breakfast Club”
As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment newspaper columns on the West Coast, serving nearly one million weekly readers. To reach Bill Vaughan, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @tastyclips.