Weekend Box Office Report

Phil Crone

Best Boys

Even when they are existing properties, sequels long after the last entrant to a franchise came out are still a gamble. "Rambo: Last Blood" and "Terminator: Dark Fate" should still be fresh in all our minds to prove that point. Therefore, I think it was perfectly reasonable to be skeptical of "Bad Boys For Life," a follow-up to 2003's "Bad Boys II" that reunites Will Smith and Martin Lawrence for the first time since then. As it turns out, audiences were ready for all the "Bad Boys" they could get, as "Bad Boys For Life" just obliterated all expectations to gross $73,033,944 over the four-day MLK weekend. For star Will Smith, it marks an especially large return to form; save properties that existed in popular culture well before his introduction to them, Smith hasn't had a movie gross over $100M domestic since "Men in Black 3." Hopefully "Bad Boys For Life" can spawn more success for the actor as opposed to, say, more of "Gemini Man."

For FML, as expected when a movies beats its projections by over 50%, "Bad Boys For Life" was the easiest of Best Performer winners, finishing at $176k/Bux. The only other movie to break $100k/Bux this weekend was the other new release, "Dolittle," which was a distant second in value at $120k/Bux.

Chiller Fillers

Between steadily rising projections and, eventually, confirmation of a fantastic $6M haul in Thursday previews, the only thing obvious this weekend was the first two screens of your Cineplex being "Bad Boys For Life." Below that, nearly every plausible six screen combination that could be done below it proved popular, with four of the five most played Cineplexes this weekend being "Bad Boys For Life" x2/filler x6. The most popular, played by 432 players, was "Bad Boys For Life" x2/"Frozen II"/"Uncut Gems"/"Bombshell" x4. It was a logical combo given that "Frozen 2" held enough volume to have a safe floor in a family-friendly weekend, and it didn't demand players eat that dreaded $2M blank penalty. Players also thought "Frozen II" had some upside thanks to special "sing-a-long" screenings, and while that sounds like the equivalent of "cruel and unusual punishment" to yours truly, I guess there is some sort of audience out there for that sort of thing.

Blank Makes Bank

"Frozen II" ended up solid value, but stuffing in a screen of your 2nd to last finisher in value and four screens of your Worst Performer just to avoid a blank penalty proved that sometimes, you just gotta bite the bullet when the bottom of the slate is dead. Large theater cuts for "Uncut Gems" and "Bombshell" spelled doom for their chances. The best way to limit exposure to the dead weight at the bottom of the slate was to include "Underwater" in your Cineplex. After a lackluster opening weekend, Pricing was fine with letting "Underwater" off with a low bar that it was able to largely beat and finish fourth in value. That yielded a PC of "Bad Boys For Life" x2/"Underwater" x2/"Parasite"/"Bombshell" x2/Blank, which grossed $165,872,808 after including $9M in bonuses and a $2M blank penalty. Congrats to the 41 players who hit the PC this weekend! (Including yours truly, not to brag.)

Bachman Turner Overdrive

With most movie goers looking to either catch up on Awards contenders or larger holiday weekend releases, these weekends between MLK Day and Super Bowl prove to be a little bit of a dumping ground or a time to target demographics that wouldn't be interested in either. That seems to be the case with both new wide releases this weekend. Guy Ritchie's latest, "The Gentleman," is slated to release in only 2000 theaters (that's less than half of what "Dolittle" just had) and seems to be sneaking out despite good reviews. Meanwhile, "The Turning" looks to capitalize on the teen horror crowd. Set your lineups by Friday Noon Eastern/9 AM Pacific and we'll see you here next week!