‘Bad Boys 4’ Gives Box Office a Much-Needed $56 Million Opening Weekend

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Sony’s franchise action film helps theaters regain momentum after a poor May

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Martin Lawrence and Will Smith in "Bad Boys: Ride or Die" (Sony Pictures)

The box office is finally starting to pick up thanks to Sony/Columbia’s “Bad Boys: Ride or Die,” which faced fears from some exhibition sources that it would succumb to the recent slump in the theatrical market but has instead broken it with a $56 million opening weekend from 3,885 locations in North America with a $104.6 million global start.

While a bit below the $62 million 3-day opening weekend earned by “Bad Boys For Life” in January 2020, it beats pre-release projections, which had topped out at $50 million and had been revised down to the low $40 million range in the leadup to release. Some movie theater owners who spoke to TheWrap were concerned that the $100 million franchise action film could do even worse based on lagging presales.

Instead, “Bad Boys 4” has enjoyed robust walk-up traffic, with movie theater sources telling TheWrap that an estimated 70% of tickets sold for the film have been day-of purchases. That has driven the film to earn the highest opening for an R-rated film since the $82.4 million opening of “Oppenheimer” last July.

The film’s core Black audience comprised 44% of its opening day audience, with 48% being under the age of 35. That success in drawing out a substantial younger cohort has been key to “Bad Boys” getting a strong start, as Warner Bros.’ “Furiosa” has failed to leave a mark largely due to lower turnout from Gen Z audiences.

Just as encouraging is the word-of-mouth, as “Bad Boys 4” has received an A- on CinemaScore to go with a 5/5 on PostTrak and a 97% audience Rotten Tomatoes score. That should give the film strong legs through Father’s Day and into the rest of June.

But one successful film isn’t going to be enough to pull the box office completely out of the hole its fallen into thanks to the worst May it has seen since the turn of the century. “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” and fellow Sony release “The Garfield Movie” are the only films estimated to earn at least $10 million this weekend, and the overall estimated total of $103.7 million is down 38% from a year ago.

One of the films that didn’t reach eight digits this weekend is “The Watchers,” the directorial debut of M. Night Shyamalan’s daughter, Ishana Night Shyamalan. Produced and self-financed by the “Sixth Sense” director and acquired by Warner Bros. for $30 million, “The Watchers” opened in the No. 4 spot to an estimated $7 million from 3,351 locations, getting poor marks with a C- on CinemaScore and Rotten Tomatoes scores of 29% critics and 56% audience.

More help is on the way next weekend with Disney/Pixar’s “Inside Out 2,” which will have a shot at earning the highest opening of 2024 so far with projections predicting a $90 million launch.

In the meantime, Sony will enjoy a one-two weekend finish as DNEG’s “The Garfield Movie” takes the No. 2 spot with $10 million in its third weekend, giving the family film an $68.6 million domestic total. Paramount’s “IF” is in third this weekend with $8 million, giving John Krasinski’s family film a solid $93.5 million domestic total after four weekends while reaching $160 million worldwide.

Opening to $33.7 million domestic against a reported $110 million budget before marketing, “IF” has legged out quite well despite some competition from “Garfield”; and while “Inside Out 2” will likely lead to stiffer drops for both of those films next weekend, “IF” will earn a 3x multiple as it crosses $100 million domestic in the coming week.

Disney/20th Century’s “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” will hold on to a top 5 spot for one more weekend, earning $5.4 million as it has passed $350 million worldwide and will reach $150 million domestic on Monday.

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