How 'Bad Boys for Life' beat the odds and became a box-office hit, invigorating a franchise for Sony

bad boys for life sony

  • “Bad Boys for Life,” the third “Bad Boys” movie, exceeded
    expectations at the box office with $73 million over the four-day
    holiday weekend.
  • A fourth “Bad Boys” movie is already in the works at Sony.
  • The movie attracted moviegoers with positive reviews, a smart
    January release, and the chemistry of returning stars Will Smith
    and Martin Lawrence, according to experts.
  • The key to future sequels will be tight production budgets,
    according to Shawn Robbins, the Boxoffice.com chief analyst.
  • Visit Business
    Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The “Bad Boys” franchise is here to stay if
the latest movie’s box office
is any indication.

The third movie, “Bad Boys for Life,” earned $73 million
domestically and $112 million worldwide over the four-day Martin
Luther King Jr. weekend, exceeding studio and analyst expectations.
The studio, Sony, is already developing a fourth movie.

The movie was buoyed by solid critical reception and
word-of-mouth. It has a respectable 75% Rotten Tomatoes critic
score and a 97% audience score, the best of the series (the first
two movies have “rotten” critic scores and both have a 78% audience
score). It also has an A grade on Cinemascore, which surveys an
audience on a movie’s opening night.

“After a holiday season filled with family-driven franchise
events, ‘Bad Boys for Life’ offered up a sequel for adults,” Shawn
Robbins, the Boxoffice.com chief analyst, told Business
Insider.

Bad Boys II Sony

The “Bad Boys for Life” success caps off a hot streak for Sony
after its Quentin Tarantino movie, “Once Upon a Time… in
Hollywood,” earned 10 Oscar nominations and
“Jumanji: The Next Level” also excelled at the box office
. It’s
all good news for the studio, which was dealt a box-office blow
over the summer with another attempt at a franchise revival: “Men
in Black: International.”

The success wasn’t guaranteed for the new “Bad Boys” movie.
Initial industry projections had the movie “in the low $40 million
range,” according to Boxoffice.com.
The first two movies, directed by “Transformers” helmer Michael
Bay, were successful but not box-office sensations, earning $141
million and $273 million worldwide, respectively (before adjusting
for inflation). It’s been 17 years since 2003’s “Bad Boys II” and
other long-gestating sequels, like last year’s “Terminator: Dark
Fate” and the “Shining” sequel, “Doctor Sleep,” didn’t fare well
with audiences.

“Given the number of unwanted, unneeded, and undesired reboots
and franchise revivals in recent years, it’s no wonder that the
initial response to the prospects for a new ‘Bad Boys’ film was met
with indifference and skepticism,” Paul Dergarabedian, the Comscore
senior media analyst, told Business Insider.  

It was also directed by two Belgian filmmakers, Adil El Arbi and
Bilall Fallah,
who had never made a Hollywood movie before
.

bad boys for life

But the work of those directors, combined might of returning
stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, and an otherwise slow
January, helped “Bad Boys for Life” attract moviegoers.

“‘Bad Boys For Life’ avoided the usual pitfalls by offering up
all the qualities of the original films, including and most
importantly the combined star power and chemistry of Smith and
Lawrence, an outside-the-box January release date, and of course
great reviews, which are a bit of a unicorn in the world of
reboots,” Dergarabedian said.

For future sequels, Robbins said that it’s “all about keeping
the budget in control.”

“Bad Boys II” was one of the top 10 movies at the box office in
2003, a fact that was overlooked because of the movie’s high $130
million budget, according to Robbins. “Bad Boys for Life” was made
for $90 million.

“We’ve seen more recent examples of aging franchises going back
to the well with big budgets and failing to connect with
moviegoers,” Robbins said. The aforementioned “Dark Fate” was made
for $185 million and grossed a disappointing $261 million
globally.

He added that Smith and Lawrence’s chemistry will be essential
going forward.

“Audiences will know the difference between a genuinely
entertaining progression of their story and a cash-grab attempt to
piggyback off a surprise success,” Robbins said.

SEE ALSO: How
the ‘Bad Boys’ franchise found new life thanks to 2 Belgian
directors who had never made a Hollywood movie
before


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How 'Bad Boys for Life' beat the odds and became a box-office hit, invigorating a franchise for Sony