Box office: ‘Bad Boys for Life’ opens at No. 1, ‘Dolittle’ falters in 2nd

Will Smith, left, and Martin Lawrence are the driving force in "Bad Boys for Life."
(Ben Rothstein / Columbia Pictures)

This weekend at the box office, old things were made new again as Sony released its long-delayed “Bad Boys” sequel and Universal sought to introduce a younger audience to the classic Dr. Dolittle character.

In first place, “Bad Boys for Life” opened with an impressive $59.2 million and an estimated $68.1 million through the holiday, well above studio projections of $38 million for the four days, according to estimates from measurement firm Comscore. Globally, the film is already expected to cross the $100-million milestone this extended holiday weekend.

A follow-up to 1995’s “Bad Boys” and 2003’s “Bad Boys II,” the film reunites Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as seasoned Miami cops forced to reckon with the violence they’ve wreaked as retirement looms on the horizon.

The $90-million action comedy boasts the second-highest opening for Martin Luther King Jr. weekend after “American Sniper,” which opened on MLK weekend in 2014 to $107.2 million, and a franchise best. Comparatively, “Bad Boys II” opened to $46 million 17 years ago and wrapped its entire theatrical run with $65.8 million.

“Bad Boys for Life” was positively received, with an A CinemaScore and a 75% “fresh” rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes. Sony is already developing a fourth installment, with screenwriter Chris Bremner set to return.

In second place, Universal’s “Dolittle” debuted to $22.5 million through the weekend and an estimated $30 million through Monday.

Starring Robert Downey Jr. as the titular veterinarian, the $175-million period film comes 19 years after Eddie Murphy inhabited the character and more than 50 years after Rex Harrison talked to the animals. It was poorly received, with a B CinemaScore and a 19% “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.


“Dolittle” was originally scheduled for release May 2019 but was delayed twice after Universal sought to rework the script and complete reshoots. The disappointing result follows on the heels of the studio’s recent box office bomb, “Cats.”

On a brighter note for the studio, at No. 3, Universal and Amblin’s “1917" added $22.1 million in its fourth weekend for a cumulative $76.8 million, plus an additional $4.9 million expected Monday. The film scored 10 Oscar nominations last week, including a best picture nod.

In fourth place, Sony’s “Jumanji: The Next Level” added $9.6 million in its sixth weekend for a cumulative $270.5 million, with an anticipated $3 million Monday.

Rounding out the top five, Disney’s “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” added $8.4 million in its fifth weekend for a cumulative $492 million; Monday is expected to bring in an additional $2.4 million.

At No. 6, Warner Bros.’ “Just Mercy” added $6 million in its fourth weekend for a cumulative $19.6 million.

In seventh place, Sony’s “Little Women,” which earned six Oscar nominations, added $5.9 million in its fourth weekend for a cumulative $84.4 million.

At No. 8, Lionsgate’s “Knives Out” added $4.3 million in its eighth weekend for a cumulative $146 million.

In ninth place, Paramount’s “Like a Boss” added $3.8 million in its second weekend (a 62% drop) for a cumulative $16.9 million.

Rounding out the top 10, Disney’s “Frozen 2" added $3.7 million in its ninth weekend for a cumulative $465 million.

Fox’s “Underwater” dropped out of the top 10 in its second weekend, adding $ 3.6 million (a 49% drop) for a cumulative $ 12.8 million. Also falling out was Fox’s animated “Spies in Disguise,” collecting $2.6 million in its fourth weekend for a cumulative $58.4 million.

A quartet of best picture nominees added hundreds of locations to capitalize on the anticipated Oscar bump. Neon’s “Parasite” earned $1.7 million for a cumulative $27.7 million; Searchlight’s “Jo Jo Rabbit” added $1.4 million for a domestic total of $23.5 million; Fox’s “Ford v. Ferrari” notched $1.1 million for $112.9 million domestic; and Sony’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” added a modest $310,000 upgrade to it’s $141.5 million North American total.

In limited release, “Weathering With You,” the new animated film from director Makoto Shinkai, quickly became GKids’ highest grossing film ever. In two-day midweek “fan previews through Fantom Events, the film grossed $3 million. “Weathering” also earned $1.7 million Friday through Sunday in a traditional release for $4.7 million cumulative.

This weekend, Universal opens the horror movie “The Turning” and STX Entertainment premieres the action adventure “The Gentlemen.”