Martin Luther King Day usually tends to bring the first major weekend of cinema each year and 2020 was no different. With Oscar hopeful and Golden Globe winner “1917” winning out last week and both Sony and Universal debuting new films in the form of “Bad Boys for Life” and “Dolittle” respectively there was plenty of competition to make for an interesting four days with the end result one for the record books at least for one newcomer. Let’s see who dominated the holiday and how everything shook out in this week’s Box Office Breakdown.
Sony scored a huge win with its threequel “Bad Boys for Life” which not only demolished the competition but overshot nearly every projection to the tune of an estimated $68.1 million domestically, and that’s without Monday holiday actuals. Released 17 years after the last entry in the series, the film made nearly $60 million in its traditional three-day weekend which was more than enough to put it at the top. Overall the total made it the second biggest MLK Day weekend debut ever behind only “American Sniper” and it became Sony’s largest debut for an R-rated film. “Bad Boys for Life” also took in $38.6 million outside of North America. Comparatively, the third entry in the “Bad Boys” franchise made more in its opening weekend than the entire domestic gross of the first movie in 1995 which went on to earn $141.4 million worldwide. You can read my review of “Bad Boys for Life” by clicking here.
Second place was actually a surprise despite being the other big release of the weekend. While “Bad Boys for Life” earned better-than-expected critical praise, Universal’s “Dolittle” was completely panned by critics but still managed to exceed expectations with a $30 million estimated four-day domestic opening. This is still a very poor performance for the flick which cost $175 million to produce not counting advertising and served as the first post-MCU film for star Robert Downey, Jr. Its success could be attributed to the disparity in critical scores versus audience scores as Rotten Tomatoes showed a 77% audience rating in contrast to 19% critic score. This is apparently a case of audiences caring less for the quality of the film than the star power. I personally agreed with the critics and you can read my rather unapologetic review by clicking here.
Universal held the third spot as well with “1917” taking in $27 million before Monday actuals in its second weekend in wide release. Now in its overall fourth week of its North American run the war flick has earned around $81 million domestically and $143.5 million globally since debuting in only a handful of theaters on Christmas week. Sony also again shows up in the top five with “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” in fourth while Disney’s “Stars Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” continued to fall to fifth. “Little Women”, “Just Mercy”, “Knives Out”, and like a “Like a Boss” placed sixth through ninth while “Frozen II”, which re-released to theaters in the form of a family sing-along, worked its way back into the top ten in tenth.
“Bad Boys for Life” has great potential to repeat at the top of the box office but it will have to fend off two newcomers to do so. Once again Universal will present a new film in the form of “The Turning”, the most recent cinematic version of “The Turning of the Screw”. STXfilms and Miramax will debut Guy Ritchie’s latest project “The Gentlemen” as well. We shall see who wins the battle this time next week.