'Bad Boys' do well, leading N.American box office


Los Angeles (AFP)

It took Sony 17 years, but the latest "Bad Boys" sequel appears to be paying off, taking in an estimated $59.2 million for the start of a US holiday weekend, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations reported Sunday.

"Bad Boys for Life" stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as wise-cracking detectives who reunite after years apart ("Bad Boys II" dates from 2003, eight years after the original "Bad Boys") to take on a murderous Miami drug cartel.

Its North American ticket sales -- estimated at $68.1 million when Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. holiday is included -- are nearly twice original predictions, according to Variety.com.

Another new release, Universal's "Dolittle," starring Robert Downey Jr., placed second with an estimated $22.5 million for the Friday-through-Sunday period ($30 million for the four days).

"Dolittle," based on a beloved children's book about a veterinarian who can talk to the animals, has been savaged by critics -- who have called it "utterly lifeless," "a quicksand of a movie," and "shockingly unfunny."

The presence of Downey, hugely popular in the Marvel superhero films, and of an all-star voice cast including Emma Thompson, Ralph Fiennes, Antonio Banderas, Rami Malek, Octavia Spencer and Marion Cotillard, may have helped boost its fortunes.

In third was a film that has done rather better with the critics, last weekend's box office leader, "1917," also from Universal. The World War I drama has booked $22.1 million in ticket sales ($27 million for four days).

One critic called the Sam Mendes movie, filmed as if in one long, continuous shot, a "protean display of virtuoso filmmaking."

Despite a lack of big stars, it has won both the Golden Globe and the Producers Guild of America awards for best drama, and is now seen as a best-picture favorite at the Oscars.

Sony's "Jumanji: The Next Level," slid one spot from last weekend to fourth, taking in $9.6 million ($12.6 million). The action sequel stars Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Kevin Hart.

Fifth spot went to Disney's "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker," at $8.4 million ($10.6 million). Globally, the finale of the nine-film "Skywalker Saga" has now surpassed the $1 billion mark.

Rounding out the top 10 were:

"Just Mercy" ($6 million; $7.5 million for four days)

"Little Women" ($5.9 million; $7.4 million)

"Knives Out" ($4.3 million; $5.3 million)

"Like a Boss" ($3.8 million; $4.5 million)

"Frozen II" ($3.7 million; $5.1 million)