‘Bad Boys for Life’ Heads to $68 Million 4-Day Opening for Best MLK Launch Since 2014

Universal has mixed weekend, as “1917” stays strong but “Dolittle” flops

Last Updated: January 19, 2020 @ 10:44 AM

Sony’s “Bad Boys for Life” is estimated for a 4-day opening of $68 million, making it the best Martin Luther King Jr. weekend box office since Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” in 2014. With $37 million grossed overseas, “Bad Boys” will earn more than $100 million worldwide this weekend.

Sony has attempted repeatedly to revive franchises that haven’t had a film in theaters in many years, but for every hit like “Jumanji” they have had busts like last year’s “Men in Black: International” and “Charlie’s Angels.” But “Bad Boys for Life” has given fans the action and chemistry from Will Smith and Martin Lawrence that they crave, as the film has earned an A on CinemaScore and 5/5 on Postrak.

Critics have also been far more positive than they were to the first two “Bad Boys” films, giving it a 76% Rotten Tomatoes score compared to 42% for the original “Bad Boys” and 23% for “Bad Boys II.” That could help increase interest from casual moviegoers in the coming weeks, especially with little competition for 18-35 audiences until “Birds of Prey” comes out in three weeks. Sony is already trying to capitalize on the success — on Friday it ordered a fourth “Bad Boys.”

MLK weekend was hit and miss for Universal. On the downside, their latest film, “Dolittle,” is about to join “Cats” as the studio’s second box office flop this winter. While the film’s $30 million estimated 4-day opening is a result consistent for family comedies released in January, “Dolittle” was supposed to gain four-quadrant appeal from Robert Downey Jr.’s first film appearance since “Avengers: Endgame,” and its budget ballooned to a reported $175 million after reshoots.

Other signs that a flop is incoming: a B on CinemaScore and 18% on Rotten Tomatoes, neither of which will drum up moviegoer interest. An international bailout isn’t likely either, as it grossed $17 million from 42 markets for a global total through Sunday of $50 million.

The good news for Universal, however, is “1917.” It now has 10 Oscar nominations including Best Picture and is estimated to take $27 million over four days, including a $22.1 million 3-day total. That is just a 40% drop from last weekend’s $37 million wide opening. The film is now estimated to have a domestic total of $81 million and a global total of over $140 million by the end of Monday. And with its victory at the Producers Guild Awards Saturday, it is now considered the frontrunner to win Best Picture, which should keep its box office total going strong.

Taking fourth is Sony’s “Jumanji: The Next Level,” which will cross the $700 million mark worldwide with $12.5 million domestic over the extended weekend for a global total of $708 million. Combined with its predecessor, “Welcome to the Jungle,” the two “Jumanji” sequels have grossed $1.67 billion for Sony.

Completing the Top 5 is “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” which passed $1 billion earlier this week and will earn an estimated $10 million over the extended weekend to bring its global total to $1.02 billion. Outside the Top 5 is Sony’s “Little Women,” which added $7.4 million after getting nominated for Best Picture and has a domestic total of $85.8 million.

Neck-and-neck for the No. 6 spot with “Little Women”  is Warner Bros.’ “Just Mercy,” which is facing stronger-than-expected competition from “Bad Boys” for African American audiences but is still holding decently with an estimated $7 million over four days, which would give it a $21 million total. Finally, Lionsgate’s “Knives Out,” which earned a Best Original Screenplay Oscar nomination, is expected to cross $150 million domestic this week after adding an estimated $5.2 million this weekend.

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