'Bad Boys for Life' Looking at Possible $70 Million MLK Debut
SATURDAY AM UPDATE: Sony's Bad Boys for Life is looking to deliver the second largest MLK weekend performance ever after bringing in an estimated $23.5 million on Friday. Current expectations are for a three-day performance nearing $60 million and a four-day coming just shy of $70 million. Along with solid reviews from critics, the film received an "A" CinemaScore and holds a 96% audience rating at RottenTomatoes.

Universal's Dolittle is actually outperforming expectations, delivering an estimated $6.3 million on Friday and currently looking at a $23.4 million three-day and a four-day performance around $31 million. While the film bombed with critics, opening day audiences gave the film a "B" CinemaScore along with a 75% audience rating on RottenTomatoes.

You can check out all of the Friday estimates right here and we'll be back tomorrow morning with a complete look at the weekend.

FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Sony's Bad Boys for Life took in a January record, $6.36 million from Thursday night previews beginning at 4PM in in 3,154 locations. The performance is dramatically ahead of the $1.06 million and $1.26 million Ride Along and Ride Along 2 brought in from previews and also outperforms the $5.9 million for John Wick: Chapter 3, which delivered a $56.8 million debut last May. In fact, it is more than $1 million ahead of the previous January preview record of $5.3 million for American Sniper which went on to gross a record, $107.2 million over the four-day MLK weekend debut. Look for big things to come for the film over the coming days.

As for Universal's Dolittle, the film grossed $925,000 in previews last night from 3,050 theaters with showings beginning at 5PM.

We'll take a closer look at things tomorrow morning once Friday estimates come in. For now you can check out our weekend preview below.

WEEKEND PREVIEW: Following Monday's announcement of this year's Oscar nominations and the recent Golden Globe Awards, we are knee deep in awards season and films such as 1917 and Little Women will hope to take advantage of their recent nominations while this weekend also features a pair of new wide releases. Sony is bringing Will Smith and Martin Lawrence back together in Bad Boys for Life while Universal is hoping Robert Downey Jr.'s mass appeal extends beyond the Avengers franchise as he topline's the $175 million production Dolittle.

Looking to top the weekend box office is the return of detectives Marcus Burnett (Lawrence) and Mike Lowrey (Smith) in Bad Boys for Life, the third film in the Bad Boys franchise. Directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah take over for Michael Bay who directed the first two installments, the last of which was released 17 years ago and grossed nearly $275 million worldwide. Carrying a $90 million budget, the film enters the weekend with decent early reviews -- 75% on RottenTomatoes and 59 on Metacritic -- and the studio is anticipating a four-day performance around $38 million compared to tracking, which has a wide range from $32-48 million for the holiday weekend.

From our perspective, a look at IMDb page view data is promising when compared to films such as Ride Along and Ride Along 2, both of which also opened over the Martin Luther King holiday weekend with four-day performances topping $41 million each, with Ride Along currently holding the second largest MLK weekend ever at $48.6 million. The comp to the two Ride Along movies feels good, but one interesting data point is theater counts. The first Ride Along delivered its monster opening from just 2,663 theaters whereas Bad Boys will debut in 3,775 locations. Just how much will the additional 1,112 theaters help Bad Boys?

It would be one thing to say the competition will be fierce, but Ride Along probably had even stiffer competition, going up against three other new wide releases, not to mention Lone Survivor, which was coming off a weekend very similar to what we just saw from 1917. All told, we're going to go with a forecast pretty much mirroring Ride Along, anticipating a $48 million four-day weekend and possibly enough to make this the second largest MLK weekend opening ever.

Second place should go to the aforementioned 1917, which delivered a great nationwide launch this past weekend and followed that up with ten Oscar nominations on Monday. As we mentioned, Lone Survivor had a similar wide break back in 2014, right before MLK weekend, and dipped -41.7% the following weekend, but we're expecting 1917 to hold a bit better. Right now we're anticipating a drop closer to -27% and a four-day performance around $33.5 million as Lone Survivor wasn't enjoying nearly the awards attention 1917 is currently basking in.

Next we come to Universal's Dolittle, which carries a $175 million budget and is not playing well with critics, earning a 13% on RottenTomatoes and a 28 on Metacritic. Studio expectations are for a four-day performance in the low-to-mid $20 million range, which lines up with tracking and, with the film opening in over 4,000 locations, it better hit those numbers. A look at IMDb page view performance has us comping to 2015's Paddington and it's pacing very similarly over the two weeks leading up to release. Thing is, that film had much better reviews, which has us hesitating to expect a performance matching it as we're going with a $22-23 million four-day forecast and won't be surprised if it falls a bit short.

Fourth and fifth place is pretty much a toss-up between Jumanji: The Next Level and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, both of which we expect to bring in around $12-13 million for the four-day holiday.

In limited release, after an excellent Wednesday premiere that saw GKids's Weathering with You take the #2 spot at the Wednesday box office, the film will go into 450 locations this weekend. The film has, so far, generated nearly $180 million at the global box office.

This weekend's four-day forecast is directly below. This post will be updated on Friday morning with Thursday night preview results followed by Friday estimates on Saturday morning, and a complete weekend recap on Sunday morning.

  • Bad Boys for Life (3,775 theaters) - $48.0 M
  • 1917 (3,612 theaters) - $33.5 M
  • Dolittle (4,000 theaters) - $22.0 M
  • Jumanji: The Next Level (3,323 theaters) - $12.4 M
  • Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker (3,053 theaters) - $12.2 M
  • Just Mercy (2,457 theaters) - $8.5 M
  • Little Women (2,503 theaters) - $7.6 M
  • Like a Boss (3,081 theaters) - $7.3 M
  • Frozen II (2,080 theaters) - $5.6 M
  • Knives Out (1,667 theaters) - $5.3 M

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