'Bad Boys: Ride or Die' Fuels Will Smith's Comeback and Box Office with $56 Million Opening

NEW YORK — NEW YORK (AP) — “Bad Boys: Ride or Die,” the fourth installment in the Will Smith-Martin Lawrence action comedy series, which opened last weekend with an estimated $56 million in theaters, gave Hollywood a much-needed summer hit and Smith his biggest success since beating Chris Rock at the Academy Awards.

The expectations for “Ride or Die” were given all over the card the dismal cinema market so far this summer and Smith's less certain influence on the box office. But in the end, Sony Pictures' release came very close to, or slightly above, the tracking forecast.

“Ride or Die,” produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, is Smith's first theatrical test since his 2022 punch of Rock earned it a ten-year Oscar ban. The “Bad Boys” movie was in development at the time and was temporarily postponed, but ultimately went ahead with a production budget of approximately $100 million.

Smit played in the Apple release 'Emancipation', but that film – released in late 2022 – was shot before the hit and received only a modest theatrical release before being streamed.

This time, Smith largely avoided soul-searching interviews, looking back at the Oscars, and instead went on a whistle-stop red carpet publicity tour from Mexico to Saudi Arabia, where he attended what was billed as the first Hollywood premiere of the country. Smith, 55, who for years was one of Hollywood's most bankable stars, appeared on “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon,” the YouTube series “Hot Ones” and made a surprise appearance in a film in Los Angeles on Friday. theater.

Considering that “Bad Boys” left May's disappointments behind “Furiosa: a Mad Max Saga” And “The Autumn Man” – both of which struggled to score with ticket buyers despite very good reviews – the opening of “Ride or Die” ranks as a crucial weekend victory for the film industry.

“The fact that a movie is overperforming is the best possible news,” said Paul Degarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “It seems like all we've been doing for the past few weeks and almost since the beginning of the year, with a few exceptions, is trying to figure out why seemingly well-marketed, well-reviewed films are underperforming. This ignites the spark the industry has been waiting for.”

“Ride or Die” still didn’t quite manage to match the opening of the previous “Bad Boys” film, 2020’s “Bad Boys for Life.” That film, released in January 2020, debuted with $62.5 million. After the pandemic closed theaters, it was the highest-grossing North American release that year, with $204 million domestically.

“Ride or Die” added $48.6 million internationally. Although reviews were mixed (64% on Rotten Tomatoes), audiences gave the film a high grade with an “A-” CinemaScore. Black moviegoers accounted for 44% of ticket buyers, the largest demographic group.

In the film, which is released 29 years after the original, Smith and Lawrence reprise their roles as Miami detectives. The plot revolves around uncovering a plan to entrap their deceased police captain (Joe Pantoliano). In one of the film's most notable scenes, Lawrence slaps Smith and calls him a “bad boy.”

However, movie theaters will need a lot more than “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” to right the ship. According to Comscore, ticket sales are down 26% from last year and more than 40% below pre-pandemic totals. A big test comes next weekend with the release of Pixar's “Inside Out 2.” After sending several Pixar releases straight to Disney+, this time the studio has promised a lengthy, traditional theatrical rollout.

Top film from last weekend 'The Garfield Movie' slipped to second place. Also from Sony, the family animated comedy collected $10 million in ticket sales during its third weekend, bringing its domestic gross to $68.6 million.

This weekend's other new release, “The Watchers,” failed to click with moviegoers. The horror film, directed by Ishana Night Shyamalan, daughter of M. Night Shyamalan, is about a stranded 28-year-old artist in Ireland. reviews, the release of Warner Bros. grossed $7 million from 3,351 theaters.

This allowed Ryan Reynolds' imaginary friend fantasy “If” to reach third place in its fourth weekend of release, bringing Paramount Pictures' cumulative domestic total to $93.5 million. Rounding out the top five was “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes,” which grossed $5.4 million in its fifth weekend of release. It has grossed $150 million domestically and $360 million worldwide.

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