Written by 02:40 Business

‘Bad Boys’ Ticket Buyers Toss Will Smith a Career Lifeline

Moviegoers sent Will Smith a clear message over the weekend: We forgive you.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die,” the fourth entry in the Sony Pictures franchise — and Mr. Smith’s first wide release since he slapped Chris Rock at the Academy Awards in 2022 — arrived to roughly $56 million in ticket sales in the United States and Canada, according to Sony. That No. 1 result was a career milestone for Mr. Smith: He now has 15 first-place debuts as a leading man on his résumé.

“Ride or Die,” which returned Mr. Smith to one of his signature roles, cost an estimated $100 million to make, not including marketing. It received positive reviews, with many critics noting a comedic moment that seemed to refer to Mr. Smith’s behavior at the 2022 Oscars: Mr. Smith is slapped by his co-star, Martin Lawrence, and called a “bad boy.”

Ticket buyers gave the R-rated “Ride or Die” an A-minus grade in CinemaScore exit polls. The Rotten Tomatoes audience score stood at 97 percent positive on Saturday.

Prerelease surveys that track audience interest had indicated that “Ride or Die” would arrive to about $45 million in North American ticket sales. Sony was hoping for at least $30 million.

Hollywood as a whole was unsure what to expect. For a variety of reasons — too few movies, movies that didn’t appeal to wide audiences, changing consumer habits — the summer box office has been in a deep freeze.

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Last modified: 11 June 2024
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