The Bad Boys are bigger and badder than ever.
Will Smith and Martin Lawrence returned to the big screen in Bad Boys for Life this weekend and fans answered the call. The action sequel raced past expectations, ringing up an estimated $59.2 over three days and $68.1 million through the long Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, according to Comscore.
Analysts had expected the Sony Pictures release to open in the $38 million to $45 million range. Thanks to positive word of mouth, solid reviews from critics, and a sizzling soundtrack led by the hit single “Ritmo (Bad Boys For Life)” from the Black Eyed Peas featuring J Balvin, the film crushed the competition.
Related Story: ‘Bad Boys for Life’ Premiere Takes Over Hollywood Boulevard (Photos)
Despite arriving 25 years after the first film, and 17 years since Bad Boys II, moviegoers rushed out to see this latest installment in the franchise, which sees Miami-Dade detectives Mike Lowrey (Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Lawrence) contemplating retirement.
“Bad Boys For Life offered up a blockbuster style experience in January. That plus the nostalgia factor clearly got moviegoers all charged up to see Will Smith and Martin Lawrence back together,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore, told Urban Hollywood 411.
The film delivered Sony’s best opening ever for an R-rated movie, and the second best opening for a January release. Overseas, the action thriller took in $37.3 million (through Sunday), bringing its worldwide total to $106.7 million.
Related Story: Will Smith Explains Why ‘Bad Boys for Life’ Took So Long to Make
Joe Pantoliano, Alexander Ludwig, Vanessa Hudgens, Charles Melton, Kate del Castillo, Paola Nuñez, Bianca Bethune, and internet sensation King Bach round out the main cast.
It’s directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (replacing Michael Bay, who directed the first two films). Chris Bremmer wrote the script, with Jerry Bruckheimer and Will Smith producing.
The film cost a reported $90 million to make. According to published reports, Bad Boys 4 is already in the works with Bremmer tapped to write the script.
While Bad Boys for Life soared at the box office, Universal’s Dolittle starring Robert Downey Jr. struggled. The Universal fantasy adventure opened with $22.5 million over the three day weekend and is expected to earn $30 million through Monday.
The family flick about a physician who discovers he can talk to animals, cost a staggering $175 million to make. It was supposed to open last May, but got delayed because of production issues.
Elsewhere, critically acclaimed war drama 1917 took third place with a very close $22.1 million for the weekend and $27 million through Monday. Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes helmed the film, which was just named Best Picture on Saturday night by the Producers Guild of America.
Coming in fourth was Sony’s Jumanji: The Next Level with $9.6 million and an expected $12.5 million through Monday.
Disney’s Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker rounded out the top five with $8.4 million over three days and an expected $10.6 million through Monday.