Hustlers earned $33.2 million at the box office, easily recouping its $20 million budget and making it the best live-action opening of JLo’s career. It also set a record for her co-star, Constance Wu, whose 2018 film Crazy Rich Asians debuted at $26.5 million.
Cardi B and Lizzo, who guest star, make music brimming with body-positivity, self-confidence, and empowerment. Constance Wu anchored the runaway hit that finally convinced Hollywood to take Asian audiences seriously. Lili Reinhart and Keke Palmer are millennial Hollywood starlets on the rise. JLo is the Gen-Z icon who’s sexier at 50 than she was at 30. It’s diverse, naughty, true crime, and just generally very good, according to critics and audiences alike.
In interviews, writer and director Lorene Scafaria has talked about how difficult it was to get Hustlers to the screen. Despite calls for greater diversity in Hollywood, studios still seem to think that hiring women and making movies centered on them is a gamble. Annapurna Pictures, the first studio that signed on to produce Hustlers, tried to convince Martin Scorsese to direct Scafaria’s script before they’d consider her. “[One of the film’s producers] Adam McKay knew I really wanted it. I remember him saying, ‘I hope Scorsese passes,’” Scafaria told Vulture. “And of course Scorsese passed,” she added.
Then, in 2018,, Annapurna unceremoniously dropped Hustlers from its slate. “It was an immediate existential crisis,” Scafaria told The Hollywood Reporter.