Will Smith and Martin Lawrence’s Bad Boys for Life — opening 17 years after the last installment in their franchise hit the big screen — zoomed to an estimated $68.1 million over the four-day Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, including $59.2 million for the three days. The film’s release marks the second-best showing ever for the holiday frame, and Sony’s biggest R-rated bow. Giving Will Smith the much needed boost.
The action-comedy also wowed overseas, where it collected $37.3 million from 39 markets for a global debut of $107.3 million.
Bad Boys 3 continues Sony’s winning streak following Jumanji: The Next Level and best picture Oscar contenders Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Little Women.
The movie’s audience was led by African-Americans (42 percent) and males (56 percent). Impressively, 58 percent of ticket buyers were 35 years old and younger, according to PostTrak. Bad Boys 3 cost $90 million to produce before marketing. Years in the making because of budget concerns, the R-rated pic was directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah. It scored solid reviews and an A CinemaScore.
Bad Boys for Life — which has a shot at grossing well north of $160 million domestically by the end of its run — is a needed win for Smith, who is among the movie’s producers, following his big-budget miss Gemini Man.
One of the world’s other major movie stars, Robert Downey Jr., didn’t enjoy the same weekend, however, as Universal’s Dolittle wasn’t so fortunate at the box office.
The big-budget effort, which stars Downey in his first post-Iron Man role, is bombing in its U.S. debut with an estimated four-day debut of $30 million, including $22.5 million for the three days.
At this rate, the family movie could lose tens of millions for Universal unless it performs well internationally. So far overseas, Dolittle has earned $30.3 million from its first raft of territories for a projected global total of $57 million through Sunday, but it has yet to bow in most major markets (the only two so far are South Korea and Australia).
Dolittle — which hoped to create a new chapter in the film franchise about a man who can converse with animals — was savaged by critics, while audiences gave it a so-so B CinemaScore. While it did come in slightly ahead of expectations in North America, it wasn’t enough. The pic skewed female (61 percent) and Caucasian (60 percent). Ticket buyers gave the film a so-so B CinemaScore.
Produced by Team Downey and Joe Roth, Dolittle was supposed to open last May, but its release was delayed twice after Universal rushed to rework parts of the story and complete reshoots. Director Stephen Gaghan (Syriana, Traffic) had never before helmed a movie laden with special effects.
The last Dr. Dolittle effort, starring Eddie Murphy, hit the big screen 19 years ago and was set in contemporary times. This time out, the story is set in the Victorian era, akin to Hugh Lofting’s children’s books.
The timing isn’t ideal for Universal following the box office bomb Cats (both films rely heavily on VFX, not to mention animals).
Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: Sony; Universal
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