‘Bad Boys 4’ Is a Hit, but Cinemas Need More to Salvage the Summer

“Bad Boys Ride or Die” gave the box office a desperately needed jolt, but the action-comedy fourquel can’t salvage the summer season by itself

Published Time: 09.06.2024 - 23:33:50 Modified Time: 09.06.2024 - 23:33:50

“Bad Boys: Ride or Die” gave the box office a desperately needed jolt, but the action-comedy fourquel can’t salvage the summer season by itself.

Although the newest “Bad Boys,” reuniting Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as Miami cops, arrived on the higher end of expectations with $56 million in domestic ticket sales, the year-to-date deficit actually grew more pronounced. Heading into the weekend, ticket sales were 24% behind 2023 and now overall revenues are lagging by 26% according to Comscore.

“Bad Boys 4” isn’t to blame for the decline; analysts believe it’s the lack of enthusiasm for other titles in the marketplace. Four of the other top five releases — Sony’s animated “The Garfield Movie” ($10 million), Paramount’s fantasy comedy “IF” ($8 million), the Warner Bros. supernatural thriller and fellow newcomer “The Watchers” ($7.4 million) and Disney and 20th Century’s sequel “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” ($5.4 million) — brought in scraps. Two of those films, “IF” and “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes,” have been playing in theaters for four and five weekends, respectively.

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So, comparisons to the same weekend in summer 2023 are tough because several movies were actively selling tickets: “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” topped the box office with $61 million, while “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” collected $55.5 million in its sophomore outing and “Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” added $23.1 million in its third weekend of release. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” and “The Boogeyman,” the other titles in the top five, each brought in around $7 million.

“There was simply not enough collective box office horsepower to move the needle versus the very tough comparisons a year ago,” says senior Comscore analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

Overall, it’s been a disconcertingly slow summer with b -

ig-budget blockbusters like Universal’s action comedy “The Fall Guy” ($85 million domestically; $165 million globally) and the Warner Bros. sci-fi prequel “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” ($58 million domestically; $144.4 million globally) falling short of expectations. But there’s an adage that moviegoing begets moviegoing, so analysts are hopeful that “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” will finally bring a little sustained heat to popcorn season. Momentum will be crucial as Pixar’s “Inside Out 2” (June 14) and “A Quiet Place: Day One” (June 28) gear up to pop in June, while “Despicable Me 4” (July 3), “Twisters” (19) and Marvel’s “Deadpool & Wolverine” (July 28) look to bring a collective boost in July.

Last year’s dual labor strikes are partially to blame for this year’s downtrodden summer. That’s because plenty of big movies were pushed to 2025 and later as Hollywood effectively shut down for months. “We haven’t refilled the release schedule yet,” David A. Gross of movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research.” It’s going to take time.”

There’s not necessarily power in numbers. Though the volume of new releases has declined from pre-pandemic summers, it’s flat with last year’s crop of newcomers from May through June 9. There were 18 new offerings at this point in 2019, compared to 12 in 2023 and 2024. Yet this summer season is 35% behind last year’s, according to Comscore.

“Quality is more important than quantity,” says Dergarabedian. “2023 was much stronger because the crop of titles punched above their weight.”

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