“Girls Trip” Director Malcolm D. Lee Signs First-Look Deal With Universal


Malcolm D Lee UniversalGetty Images

Girls Trip director and his banner have signed a first-look deal with , which is releasing the comedy this Friday.

Lee has been making films since the age of 12, and has been working professionally in the entertainment industry since he was a 17-year-old assistant, apprentice film editor, casting associate and director’s assistant to his cousin, legendary filmmaker Spike Lee.

Lee has directed five of his nine films to date for Universal, beginning with his directorial debut The Best Man, which opened atop the box office in October 1999. He went on to direct the action-comedy Undercover Brother starring Eddie Griffin and Dave Chappelle; Roll Bounce starring Bow Wow, Mike Epps and Nick Cannon; Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins starring Martin Lawrence and Mo’Nique; and Soul Men starring Samuel L. Jackson and the late Bernie Mac.

In November of 2013, Lee’s sequel The Best Man Holiday shocked box office analysts by grossing $30.5 million its opening weekend, and he followed up that hit film with another sequel, Barbershop: The Next Cut, starring Ice Cube.

Lee most recently directed and produced Universal’s Girls Trip, which stars Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith and Tiffany Haddish, and could take some wind out of the box office sails of its big-budget competitors Dunkirk and Valerian.

The director is currently in pre- on his sixth Universal movie, Night School, which stars Kevin Hart. He’s also set to write and direct The Best Man Wedding for the studio.

“Starting with The Best Man, Malcolm has an incredible track record telling resonant stories that make audiences laugh and cry, which he has done brilliantly once again with Girls Trip,” said Universal’s president of Peter Cramer. “We are thrilled to formalize our long-standing relationship with Malcolm by welcoming his company to the lot, and we are excited about making many more films with him, starting with his next film, Night School.”

“I am extremely gratified to officially be a part of the Universal family,” said Lee. “This is a place I’ve always considered my home. They have respected and been supportive of my vision as a filmmaker, and I hope to continue the great success that I’ve had at Universal as we continue this fruitful partnership.”

Lee and his company are represented by and Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein & Lezcano.

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