Thu | Jul 18, 2024

‘Bad Boys: Ride or Die’ boosts Smith’s comeback and box office with $56-M opening

Published:Monday | June 10, 2024 | 12:07 AM
This image released by Sony Pictures shows Will Smith, left, and Martin Lawrence in ‘Bad Boys: Ride or Die’.
This image released by Sony Pictures shows Will Smith, left, and Martin Lawrence in ‘Bad Boys: Ride or Die’.


Bad Boys: Ride or Die, the fourth installment in the Will Smith-Martin Lawrence action comedy series, opened with an estimated $56 million in theatres over the weekend, handing Hollywood a much-needed summer hit and Smith his biggest success since he slapped Chris Rock at the Academy Awards.

Expectations were all over the map for Ride or Die, given the dismal movie-going market thus far this summer and Smith’s less certain box-office clout.

Ride or Die is Smith’s first theatrical test since his 2022 slap of Rock earned him a 10-year Oscar ban. The film was in development at the time and was momentarily put on hold, but ultimately went forward with about a $100-million production budget. Smith starred in the 2022 Apple release, Emancipation, but that film received only a modest theatrical release before streaming.

This time around, Smith largely avoided soul-searching interviews looking back on the Oscars and instead went on a whistle-stop publicity tour of red carpets from Mexico to Saudi Arabia. The 55-year-old Smith, 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 last Friday, made a surprise appearance at a Los Angeles movie theatre.

Though reviews were mixed (64 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes), audiences gave the film a high grade with an A- CinemaScore.

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

Last weekend’s top film, The Garfield Movie, slid to second place. Also from Sony, the family animated comedy collected $10 million in ticket sales over its third weekend, bringing its domestic gross to $68.6 million. The weekend’s other new wide release, The Watchers, failed to click with moviegoers. The Warner Bros. horror flick grossed $7 million in 3,351 theatres.

That allowed If to grab third place in its fourth weekend of release. Rounding out the top five was Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.