Observing a remarkably surprising international box office run for the astonishingly good Bad Boys For Life, the Will above Smith/Martin Lawrence title debuts on DVD, Blu-ray, and”priced to rent” VOD this morning. The film has been available for electronic purchase (“electronic sell-through”) for the previous two weeks, placing high on the many digital purchase and digital rental graphs alongside kid-friendlier alternatives like Star Wars: The growth of Skywalker, Trolls: World Tour and, Sonic the Hedgehog. With $204.4 million domestic and $419 million worldwide, Sony’s $90 million, R-rated, adult-skewing action sequel remains the year’s biggest grosser. It starts playing with significant newbies and will remain so until either American or theatres re-open. If that does not occur until closer to Thanksgiving or even Christmas than Independence Day or Labor Day, well, then Bad Boys For Life could be your 2020 box office winner.
Bad Boys For Life could have been the year’s most significant national earner and possibly the year’s highest global grosser, not counting Chinese blockbusters, up until very recently even had the pandemic not shut down much their world. Birds of Prey disappointed ($202 million worldwide), Dolittle bombed ($225 million on a $175 million funding ), and even Pixar’s Onward was on the verge of tanking (a $39 million nationally and $68 million global introductions) before theatres closed. It’s possible that Sonic the Hedgehog, which had made $306.7 million worldwide before theatres shuttered, may have otherwise sped past $425 million via a currently-delayed Chinese launch. Video game movies often do nicely in China (see Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, Warcraft, and Rampage). Even though Bad Boys 3 earned markedly less than Sonic in China, it has a $120 million head-start.
Even if things have gone as planned, Bad Boys For Life would still be in national earnings, with Mulan (having opened March 27) and No Time to Die (April 10) creating a play for the title. Globally speaking, it’s likely that both titles could have surpassed it globally, along with all those Chinese blockbusters (such as the flurry of New Year’s releases that were postponed as a result of coronavirus) made it past $420 million worldwide. We would be waiting to see if Scarlett Johansson’s Dark Widow (May 1) would play closer to Ant-Man and the Wasp ($216 million nationally and $619 million worldwide), Thor: Ragnarok ($315 million/$854 million)or Captain Marvel ($425 million/$1.128 billion). However, if theaters do not re-open anytime soon and Will Smith and Martin Lawrence’s R-rated, real-world activity sequel Bad Boys For Life, stays the very best movie of the year, well, that could be oddly ironic.
We’re approaching the various 20 year anniversaries of Ridley Scott’s Oscar-winning Gladiator and John Woo’s Mission: Impossible II. Both May 2000 releases kicked off the summer movie season. Russell Crowe period-piece actioner earned $187 million nationally by a $34 million launching and $460 million worldwide (huge for an R-rated film in the time). In comparison, the Tom Cruise experience earned $90 million over its own Wed-Sun Memorial Day weekend launch toward a $215 million domestic and $546 million worldwide cume (personal bests for Cruise at that time). The two films would rule the summer, with just The Perfect Storm ($182 million nationally and $328.7 million globally ) coming near the preordained May titans. But by the end of the year, the most significant national earners will be Jim Carrey’s The Grinch ($260 million) and Tom Hanks’ Cast Away ($233 million).
Ron Howard’s November fantasy would earn $345 million global (Christmas movies frequently make most of their money domestically) while the Robert Zemeckis play, published over Christmas, could net $429.6 million worldwide. Oh, Mel Gibson’s What Women Want, released in mid-December, could make $182.8 million domestic (the biggest rom-com ever at the time and second only to My Big Fat Greek Wedding’s $243 million hauls another year) and $374 million global. Meanwhile, Bryan Singer’s X-Men grossed $157 million domestic and $299 million globally, great for a $75 million superhero film but not quite close to the year’s biggies. It was better than Scary Movie ($157 million/$278 million) and What Happens Under ($155 million/$291 million) from that same July slate. I’ve just read off the top grosser of 2000. What you’ll notice is a lack of blatant fantasy titles involving the studio programmers that are star-driven.
How The Grinch Stole Christmas was the year’s biggest domestic earner. However, the Tom Cruise action film was the year’s just $500 million-plus earner. At the same time, the other biggies were a star-driven (and R-rated) sword-and-sandal drama, a real-world tragedy starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and Tom Hanks drama about a man stuck on a desert island for four decades. Even Michelle Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford’s What Happens Under, and Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt’s What Women Want, had the bare minimum of supernatural elements amid their adult-skewing genre tropes. At the same time, Scary Movie pegged itself since the year’s There’s Something About Mary-style humor breakout. Disney’s Dinosaur ($350 million worldwide)and Universal’s Meet the Children ($330 million)round out the top 11. X-Men, a superhero actioner, is starring a complete unknown (Hugh Jackman) amid a prestigious but not quite”box office” cast, which was the exception to the rule.
The national success of The Grinch and the surprise victory of X-Men was a harbinger of things to come. 2000 was the last time that real-world genre flicks and straight-up celebrity vehicles could make a play. Shrek dominated the summer 2001 with $262 million nationally and $487 million worldwide, even Monsters Inc. Would make more global ($255 million publicly but $528 million global) in early November just before”the Boy Who Lived” declared a new kind of international blockbuster. That very first Harry Potter film that banked its success almost entirely about the prevalence of this J.K. Rowling series and the comparative scale of its”boarding school for wizards” kid-friendly fantasy broke the opening weekend record with $90 million before becoming the second-biggest worldwide grosser ever (between The Phantom Menace and also the $1.8 billion-grossing Titanic) with $974 million worldwide.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring followed a month later, and it could earn $313 million nationally (only below Harry Potter 1’s $317 million cume) and $887 million globally. And like the new ordinary previewed from the triple punch of The Matrix, The Mummy and The Phantom Menace in early 1999 was here. 2002 will be ruled by Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Spider-Man (which topped domestically with $402 million from a then-record $114 million Fri-Sun launch) and also Star Wars Episode Two: Attack of the Clones. By the end of 2003, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King would direct domestically with $373 million and become the next movie to top $1 billion worldwide. X2: X-Men United would make $215 million domestic and $405 million worldwide that summer.
Meanwhile, The Matrix Reloaded, Finding Nemo and Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl was the”new normal” for an industry chasing the fantastical, IP-specific, four-quadrant PG or even PG-13 international blockbuster. And just like that, the adult-skewing blockbuster has been an endangered species. No, it wasn’t burst, as (ironically) that a B-movie street racing sleeper hit released amid the likes of Shrek, ” The Mummy Returns, and Planet of the Apes would slowly morph into the most significant “real world” activity franchise on the planet. Even the achievement of The Fast & the Furious was about marquee characters over marquee celebrities. From 2006, Mission: Impossible III would struggle ($133 million domestic and $398 million worldwide) against the summer likes of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (a record $135 million debut and also the third-ever $1 billion grosser), Cars and X-Men: The Last Stand.
Tom Hanks’ The Da Vinci Code ($217 million domestic and $760 million worldwide)was the exception to this rule and arguably one of its last kind that summer. By summer 2007, the season was dominated by Spider-Man 3, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Shrek that the Third and Transformers and nobody batted an eye. From 2011, Quick Five was a miracle because it soared to $209 million domestic and $626 million worldwide despite being set in the”real world” and incorporating”actual stunts” rather than robots, pirates, and wizards. Even Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol was an underdog as it rode a wave of rave reviews and white-hot buzz to $209 million domestic and $694 million worldwide to close out 2011. They would both trail Harry Potter 8 ($1.346 billion), Transformers 3 ($1.123 billion), and Pirates of the Caribbean 4 ($1.045 billion).
2000 was the last year where the comic movie industry was dominated, entire, by star-driven, real life, and (frequently ) first high-concept flicks or”new for you” adaptations (no, I don’t think most folks who flocked into Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro’s Meet the Parents had seen the French original). It’s true, you had dream hits in the previous years, like Batman, Ghost, Jurassic Park and Independence Day, but the one or two mega-buck fantasy movies would frequently be followed on the yearly rankings by more traditional real-world action films (The Fugitive), comedies (City Slickers) and melodramas (The Bridges of Madison County). These films, as well as Ransom, The Bodyguard, and Forrest Gump were predicated on movie celebrities, high-tech, and an appeal to older adolescents and adult moviegoers alongside the casual Aladdin, Armageddon or The Flintstones. Blockbusters like Batman Forever were the exception.
Twenty years ago, X-Men’s success was a surprise, even though comparatively”real-world,” star-driven, and older teen/adult-skewing action movies like Mission: Impossible II, Gladiator, and The Perfect Storm proved anticipated to score huge with overall moviegoers. That transformed, almost overnight, together with the triple whammy of Shrek, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring the next year. Now movies such as American Sniper (technically 2014’s top national grosser), John Wick: Chapter 3 and Bad Boys For Life are considered glorified underdogs as they are adult-targeted, star-driven, real-world action movies. Due to the first success (it’s a surprisingly great movie that functions as an IP resurrection and a quality R-rated activity comedy/star-vehicle) and due to conditions that benched its rivalry, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence’s real world, star-driven, R-rated Bad Boys For Life remains the season’s biggest grosser.