Box Office: ‘Bad Boys: Ride or Die’ Buddies Up to $21.6 Million Opening Day

The boys are back in town. Sony and Columbia’s “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” got off to a solid start at the box office with $21.6 million from 3,885 locations across Friday and preview screenings. The movie also gets a revenue boost from Imax and other premium large format auditoriums.

The action sequel, directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, is now looking at an opening of $53 million through the three-day frame in North America. Sony had initially projected a debut of $30 million heading into the weekend, going way below industry estimates of $45 million to $50 million. The studio seems to have made a cautious lowball, considering “The Fall Guy” and “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” have given the summer box office a run of high-profile titles debuting below expectations.

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“Ride or Die” will likely come in short of the $62.5 million domestic debut earned by Will Smith and Martin Lawrence’s series predecessor, 2020’s “Bad Boys for Life.” That entry more than tripled its opening through its run, finishing with an impressive $204 million at the domestic box office. With COVID pandemic lockdowns kicking in shortly thereafter, that film ended up as the highest grossing North American release of 2020.

This fourth “Bad Boys” cost $100 million to produce, so it should end up successful if it comes close to matching its predecessor’s performance. The buddy cop feature also marks Smith’s first wide theatrical release since he slapped Chris Rock onstage at the Academy Awards, shortly before the “King Richard” star won the Oscar for best actor. That incident sparked controversy within the industry, but it doesn’t seem to have tempered moviegoers’ affinity for Smith now more than two years later. Early ticket buyers are also positive on “Ride or Die,” with audience survey firm Cinema Score turning in a “A-” grade.

Smith and Lawrence return as Detectives Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett for “Ride or Die,” this time going rogue in order to exonerate their late captain (Joe Pantoliano). The cast includes Vanessa Hudgens, Tiffany Haddish, Alexander Ludwig and DJ Khaled. The first “Bad Boys,” which marked Michael Bay’s directorial feature debut, released in 1995, while the second came in 2003. The franchise has grossed more than $800 million worldwide.

Also opening this weekend, Warner Bros.’ thriller “The Watchers” earned $2.9 million across Friday and preview screenings, continuing a pattern of horror features underperforming at the box office this year. It will struggle to match its projections for a $10 million bow.

Directed by Ishana Night Shyamalan in her feature debut, the PG-13 film was self-financed before being sold to the studio. Reviews are negative and audiences don’t like it much either, with Cinema Score notching a “C-” grade. That’s a pretty typical reception for a horror movie, though it does likely preclude a chance at much staying power.

Sony’s “The Garfield Movie” is looking at silver after earning $2.8 million on Friday, just 27% off from its $3.7 million gross a week ago. The animated feature has now purred to $60 million in North America.

And there’s strong staying power for the marketplace’s other family-friendly feature, Paramount’s “IF.” Now in its fourth weekend, the Ryan Reynolds film is looking at about $8.1 million through the three-day frame. It will pass $90 million domestic on Saturday, with a finish above $100 million on the horizon.

Fifth place will go to “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.” The 20th Century Studios production took in another $1.4 million on Friday. The Disney release has now surpassed the $146 million domestic finish of its 2017 franchise predecessor, “War for the Planet of the Apes.”

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