Brow Beat

Issa Rae Sets Up Set It Off Remake

Issa Rae on a red carpet.
Issa Rae at the 2019 NBA Awards.
Rich Fury/Getty Images

Issa Rae, having sent up contemporary African-American life on Insecure, is setting her sights on the cinema: She’s set up a Set It Off remake at New Line, says Collider. The original movie, an ensemble crime thriller from director F. Gary Gray about a group of female bank robbers, starred Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox, and Kimberly Elise. Set It Off was a respectable but not a runaway hit back in 1996: It pulled in $36 million domestically in its initial release, coming in third on opening weekend after the Mel Gibson vehicle Ransom and the second week of Romeo + Juliet. But there have been countless Romeos and Juliets in the years since, from anime to Bollywood; revisiting the work of Mel Gibson raises its own problems; and Hustlers made a killing this weekend, so: Set It Off. Here’s the home video trailer for the original film, which was Queen Latifah’s film debut:

There is nothing that will make you miss the 1990s more than a few seconds of no-CGI car and helicopter stunts from the era! On the other hand, there is nothing that will make you glad it is no longer the 1990s more than reading Variety try to explain Set It Off’s opening weekend without giving too much credit to the wrong underserved segment of the film audience:

The past frame also registered with a potent $11.9 million debut for New Line’s distaff gangsta pic Set It Off. While it’s rare for an ethnic-appeal movie to serve as counter-programming for an action pic [Ransom], Set’s female slant has to be viewed as the prime reason it opened to big numbers.

“Distaff gangsta!” Set it Off is reportedly being developed as a starring vehicle for Rae, who will also produce, although it’s unclear which of the lead roles she will play. Syreeta Singleton and Nina Gloster are writing a new screenplay: Singleton has a story credit on Black Monday, the Showtime series in which Don Cheadle plays a 1980s stockbroker, while Gloster was a staff writer on Star, the Lee Daniels and Tom Donaghy series about three women forming a musical group in Atlanta. It’s unclear how far along the project is in development, but one thing is clear: If Rae’s Set It Off remake makes it to movie theaters, it will surprise industry insiders by beating box office expectations.