With around $199 million domestic as of yesterday, Bad Boys For Life will cross $200 million nationally in about 24 hours. When it does so, it is going to be, sans inflation, the first”fresh” January release to cross that random landmark. Yes, American Sniper made $350 million domestic as it went wide in 2015, but we’re speaking non-platform titles. Even if you count Oscar season expansions such as Chicago, A gorgeous Mind and Hidden Bodies, Bad Boys For Life remains above those films’ respective $169-$172 million unadjusted totals. The $90 million Will Smith/Martin Lawrence action comedy is essentially the second-biggest January release between American Sniper and The Revenant ($183 million after enlarging in early 2016). It is also among the greatest action movies of all time in grosses that are raw.
As mentioned last May/June when dealing with John Wick: Chapter 3 and its shocking $171 million national finish (from a $56 million domestic debut weekend), there was a period from around 2005 to 2013, when Hollywood barely made”big” R-rated action films. Part of this was the backlash, after the Columbine school shooting in April of 1999, against the idea of openly marketing such movies to teenagers. Part of this was just the new opportunities present in crafting”PG-13 at all costs” releases, which may play as”four-quadrant” (IE — one size fits all) global blockbusters. Why invest $75 million on The Rock and get $335 million when you can spend $130 million on Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl and reach $654 million and a sequel-friendly franchise?
There were exceptions, like Warner Bros.’ 300 ($456 million about a $70 million funding in 2007) as well as the many Jason Statham and Jet Li actioners over at Lionsgate. However, for a generation, PG-13 was the order of the day, even for grisly action thrillers like Taken and damn slasher flicks such as Prom Night. Nevertheless, there has been an upswing in the past several years for”big” R-rated action movies, arguably beginning with Olympus Has Got in early 2013 ($98 million domestic and $172 million worldwide on a $70 million budget). Thus, when I say that Bad Boys For Life is one of the biggest R-rated action movies ever, partly due to inflation conducting its course over a period where there were almost no big-budget R-rated action-adventure films.
Bad Boys For Life has earned $199 million nationally and about $407 million globally over a $90 million budget. Concerning national earnings that are unadjusted, that’s the 19th movie of all time. And one of those other 18 flicks, you could assert that Deadpool ($363 million in 2016), American Sniper ($350 million in 2014/2015), Deadpool two ($324.5 million in 2018), The Matrix Reloaded ($281.5 million in 2003), Beverly Hills Cop ($234.7 million in 1984), Logan ($226.3 million in 2017), Saving Private Ryan ($217 million in 1998), 300 ($210.6 million in 2007) and Terminator 2: Judgment Day ($205 million in 1991) are action films. And if you knock out comic book movies, sci-fi flicks, and war movies, you’re left with Beverly Hills Cop and Bad Boys for Life at the top.
Concerning inflation, Rambo: First Blood part II earned $150 million in 1985 ($385 million adjusted), and both Total Recall and Die Hard 2: Die Harder earned around $119 million in 1990 ($255 million corrected ). The two Air Force One (the past non-fantasy/sci-fi R-rated blockbuster of its age ) and The Matrix earned approximately $172 million in 1997 and 1999, which would be $343 million and $307 million corrected. All 3 Lethal Weapon sequels ($147 million in 1989/$335 million adjusted, $142 million in 1992/$317 million amended and $127 million in 1998/$253 million corrected ) will be above Bad Boys 3’s last overall, as could the first four Dirty Harry movies ($37 million in 1971/$215 million amended, $46 million in 1973/$235 million adjusted, $44 million in 1976/$203 million adjusted and $67 million in 1984/$215 million adjusted).