I can officially say that I have no understanding of how reboots or sequels to long-dormant franchises work. ‘Jurassic World’ and ‘Halloween’ succeeded. ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’, ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’, ‘The Predator’, and ‘Men in Black: International’ did not. I don’t know what the X-factor is that gives one of these old franchises the boost they need to succeed but ‘Bad Boys For Life’ has it.
The first ‘Bad Boys’ helped put Will Smith on the map in 1995. The first sequel, ‘Bad Boys II’ didn’t arrive until 2003. And now, 17 whole years later, here is ‘Bad Boys For Life’, the #1 movie in the world. Domestically, it has made $59.1 million over three days, but Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, so a lot of people have it off. It is projected to wind up with $68.1M by the end of the day, making it the second-best MLK opening behind ‘American Sniper’. The film blew past projections that it would open at around $40M. Worldwide, ‘Bad Boys For Life’ earned over $100M.
Critics have given it mostly positive reviews, with its Rotten Tomatoes score at 76%. Audiences absolutely adored it with an incredible A CinemaScore and a perfect score of 5 stars via PostTrak. Sony is already moving forward with a fourth ‘Bad Boys’ picture.
Whatever coaxed audiences to check out ‘Bad Boys For Life’, it wasn’t star power. Will Smith is still a household name, but at least in the US, that doesn’t automatically guarantee a hit. (His last picture, ‘Gemini Man’ was one of the biggest flops of 2019.) On the other hand, Robert Downey Jr. is still coasting on the record-breaking success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but that wasn’t enough to salvage his drippy family flick ‘Dolittle’. It lived up to its name and did VERY little at the box office.
How bad is ‘Dolittle’? In his review, Rolling Stone‘s Peter Travers declared:
“Come back, ‘Cats’, we forgive you!”
Families were kinder. Parents of kids 12 and under and those kids themselves gave it 4½ stars. But general audiences gave it 2½ stars, and to be honest, that’s incredibly generous. Its Rotten Tomatoes score is a dismal 18%.
- Bad Boys For Life (Sony) – $59.1M (3-Day)/ $68.1M (4-Day)
- Dolittle (Universal) – $22.5M (3-Day)/ $30M (4-Day)
- 1917 (Amblin/Universal) – $22.1M (3-Day)/ $27M (4-Day)
- Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony) – $9.5M (3-Day)/ $12.6M (4-Day)
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Disney) – $8.37M (3-Day)/ $10M (4-Day)
Winter tends to be pretty slow at the box office. Perhaps the biggest movie to open next weekend is the Guy Ritchie action-comedy ‘The Gentleman’ with Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Colin Farrell, Henry Golding, and Hugh Grant. Also opening is the horror flick ‘The Turning’.