‘Bad Boys Ride or Die’ gives sagging box office a boost: $56.5 million opener

That is close to the performance of the third “Bad Boys” film in 2020, right before the pandemic.
This image released by Sony Pictures shows Will Smith, right, and Martin Lawrence in "Bad Boys: Ride or Die." (Frank Masi/Columbia Pictures-Sony via AP)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

This image released by Sony Pictures shows Will Smith, right, and Martin Lawrence in "Bad Boys: Ride or Die." (Frank Masi/Columbia Pictures-Sony via AP)

The sagging domestic box office got a modest boost courtesy of “Bad Boys Ride or Die,” the third film from the sturdy Will Smith/Martin Lawrence action buddy comedy franchise.

The movie, shot both in Georgia and Miami, was the first major release for Will Smith since his infamous Oscar slap of Chris Rock. There were questions whether the bad publicity would dent his major movie appeal more than two years later.

The early answer appears to be no. The $56.5 million estimated opening weekend domestic take was only 10% below that of “Bad Boys for Life,” the third film from 2020. An estimated 3.9 million people saw the movie, representing 53% of domestic film traffic the entire weekend.

Overseas, the movie took in another $48 million. (Final results come out Monday.)

Pundits had a difficult time guessing how much the film would make, with estimates ranging from $30 million to $60 million.

CinemaScore, which polls opening weekend filmgoers, said the movie received a solid A-minus. (The first three movies chalked up A’s.). On RottenTomatoes, 97% of people who put in reviews gave it a thumbs-up. Critics were more mixed, giving it a 63% positive rating on the website compared to 76% for “Bad Boys for Life” in 2020.

The “Rotten Tomatoes” critics consensus: “Will Smith and Martin Lawrence remain good company even when ‘Bad Boys’ strains to up the ante, proving there’s still life left in this high-octane franchise.”

Sony was leery of the impact the slap leading up to the film’s release. A publicist for actress Tasha Smith, who played the supportive wife of Marcus (Lawrence) and hosted a screening of the movie this past Tuesday, interceded on an Atlanta Journal-Constitution question on the issue and said that would not be addressed before Tasha Smith had a chance to do so.

This was Smith’s 18th No. 1 opening as leading man in the United States and Canada and sixth best total ever without adjusting for inflation.

To promote the movie, Smith visited 10 cities in three continents: Dubai, Riyadh, Madrid, Berlin, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Brussels, Amsterdam, New York, and Miami. Atlanta didn’t make the cut. The two main actors also showed up on shows like “Hot Ones,” “Fallon,” “Kelly Clarkson,” ‘”Live with Kelly & Mark,” “Today with Hoda & Jenna,” “The Talk” and “Kimmel.” Sony also held a “Ride or Die” TikTok challenge and built out glow-in-the-dark black light billboards and walls in multiple cities.

As expected, the movie did well in metro Atlanta. AMC Southlake Pavilion in Atlanta was the highest grossing cinema in the nation for the movie with $155,000 so far.

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