In its ongoing attempts to revive dormant franchises, Sony can mark “Bad Boys for Life” as a big success. Industry estimates show that the return of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as Mike and Marcus has brought moviegoers out to theaters to the tune of a $69 million 4-day opening, second only to “American Sniper” in the history of openings on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend.
While the previous two “Bad Boys” films, both directed by Michael Bay, were hits with audiences but panned by critics, “Bad Boys for Life” has done well with both. Along with an A on CinemaScore and a 5/5 on Postrak from hardcore fans, critics have given the film 75% on Rotten Tomatoes, praising the direction of Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah and the story’s acknowledgement that its two protagonists are no longer the young guns they once were.
“Bad Boys”‘ 3-day estimated opening of $60 million is higher than the $56 million start of “John Wick: Chapter 3,” and with studios putting out few major films in anticipation of the usual Super Bowl slowdown, this $90 million production is well on its way to profit.
The same unfortunately cannot be said of Universal’s “Dolittle,” which is currently estimated for a $31 million 4-day opening. That’s fairly consistent with other family comedies that have opened on MLK weekend, such as the $39 million 4-day opening of “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” in 2009.
But while “Paul Blart” had a budget of $26 million, the CGI-heavy “Dolittle” had a blockbuster-sized $175 million budget that may end up sending it to join “Cats” as Universal’s second box office flop in as many months. Critics have panned the film with a 19% Rotten Tomatoes score, and audience reception isn’t showing the signs of any long-term success with a B on CinemaScore and a 3/5 on Postrak.
It’s not all bad news for Universal. Their Best Picture contender “1917” is performing well in the wake of its 10 Oscar nominations with an estimated $26 million 4-day weekend. The 3-day estimate of $21.8 million is just a 41% drop from the film’s $37 million wide opening, as its estimated domestic total is currently standing at $81 million by Monday’s end.
Holiday holdovers “Jumanji: The Next Level” and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” complete the Top 5. “Jumanji” is estimated to earn $12.6 million over the extended weekend to bring its total to $273 million after six weekends. “Star Wars” will add $10 million in its fifth weekend for a total of $494 million.