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Will Smith's Bad Boys For Life tops US box office
HOLLYWOOD tried to resuscitate two bygone series over the weekend. Only one came fully back to life.
Sony's Bad Boys For Life was far and away the top movie at domestic theatres last weekend, leaving Universal's Dolittle in the dust as it collected an estimated US$59.2 million in tickets from Friday through Sunday.
That's just a bit less than the opening weekend Bad Boys II had in 2003, adjusting for inflation - a remarkable start for a sequel being released more than 15 years later.
Bad Boys For Life picked up an additional US$38.6 million overseas over the weekend, according to the studio.
In the new movie, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence reprise their roles as Miami buddy cops, careening through a plot that has something to do with a drug cartel.
The sequel offers a plethora of jokes about ageing and a great many explosions - though conspicuously absent is director Michael Bay, who helmed the first two Bad Boys movies.
Bad Boys For Life was instead directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah. It received generally favorable reviews from critics and currently holds a 76 per cent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The movie is expected to net about US$8.9 million more in ticket sales during the Martin Luther King holiday on Monday, according to Comscore, which compiles box office data.
Already, the sales have been "particularly good in what continues to be an unsettled environment for sequels and remakes", David Gross, who runs Franchise Entertainment Research, a film consultancy, wrote in a weekend report.
Case in point is Dolittle. That movie, which casts Robert Downey Jr. as the titular animal-whispering veterinarian, made an estimated US$22.5 million in ticket sales from Friday through Sunday.
It's expected to sell around US$7.5 million more in tickets during the Monday holiday, but it will be a very long road to profitability: Dolittle cost at least US$200 million to make and market.
Also coming well over a decade and a half after Eddie Murphy played the veterinarian in Dr Dolittle 2, the release of Dolittle on the same weekend as Bad Boys For Life - and its less successful sales - speak to audiences' inconsistent willingness to trek to theatres for sequels and reboots in the age of streaming.
Poor reviews - Dolittle currently holds an 18 per cent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes - probably didn't help.
Dolittle is grappling for second place with Universal's 1917, a World War I epic from Sam Mendes that was the top movie last weekend and brought in an estimated US$22.1 million in sales this weekend.
It will likely land in third place, just behind Dolittle, but the order could change when final figures are calculated early this week.
Rounding out the top five were Sony's Jumanji: The Next Level, which took in around US$9.6 million over the weekend, its sixth in theatres, and Disney's Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
That movie came in fifth, with about US$8.4 million in domestic ticket sales from Friday through Sunday. It was in its fifth weekend in cinemas. NYTIMES