Fifteen years ago today a female revolution was set ablaze via the big screen. On December 22, 1995, Waiting to Exhale hit theaters across the country.
Waiting to Exhale was the film version of Terry McMillan’s best-selling novel of the same name. Four women in Phoenix, Arizona are holding their breath until that one good man comes along. Women from all walks of life could relate to the soon-to-be divorcee, the woman who was in love with a married man, the woman who was in love with a man who was no good for her, and the woman who was still in love with her ex-husband.
The film starred Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, Lela Rochon, and Whitney Houston in her first role since The Bodyguard. In addition, Forest Whitaker directed the film. Waiting to Exhale was met with mixed reviews, mainly because of Whitaker’s directing style that some claimed was too gentle for a novel that had so much edge. However, most agreed that Angela Bassett and former Broadway Dreamgirl, Loretta Devine, stole the movie.
Bassett’s character setting her husband’s belongings on fire or Devine’s character inviting her new neighbor over for dinner – ”It’s just leftovers. Collard greens and corn bread, some candied yams, a little potato salad, fried chicken, peach cobbler and a few slices of ham.” — Those scenes are legendary.
The Waiting to Exhale Soundtrack was just as memorable. Produced by Babyface, the soundtrack included songs with Mary J. Blige, Patti LaBelle, Toni Braxton and of course Whitney Houston, who got a #1 hit with “Exhale (Shoop Shoop).” The album was #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart for five weeks and within a year of its release went 7x platinum.
Waiting to Exhale brought in over $14 million its opening weekend and grossed over $80 million worldwide. The film was the 26th highest grossing film of 1995. Earlier this year, there was talk of the original cast reuniting for a Waiting To Exhale sequel.