Bad Boys 3: The True History Of Delays, Denials And Setbacks

Martin Lawrence and Will Smith in Bad Boys
(Image credit: (Sony))

Can you believe that at the top of 2020, audiences will finally see a third Bad Boys with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence back together in action? The comedy franchise that launched Michael Bay’s filmmaking career and Smith’s action-star status hasn’t seen a new installment in 16 years. The upcoming sequel has been in development hell as far back as 2008 and since dealt with a number of obstacles, shifts in creative control, and delays upon delays. Let’s break down the reports from over the years:

Back in 2015, Bad Boys 3 made its first concrete move when Smokin’ Aces and The Grey writer/director Joe Carnahan signed on to helm and work on the latest draft of the script. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer had previously hired Safe House writer David Guggenheim to start on the storyline as well. Sony then handed out release dates for both that movie and Bad Boys 4 as well for February 17, 2017 and July 3, 2019, respectively. We all know Bad Boys 4, let alone 3, didn’t compete with Spider-Man: Far From Home last month.

Almost a year later, the release date for Bad Boys 3 was pushed back to summer 2017 and after a few months passed… it was moved again, this time to January 2018, apparently to avoid butting heads with Wonder Woman. Then Joe Carnahan exited the project due to creative differences with Will Smith. Here’s what he recently said about dropping the project:

I just know myself, man. And I thought what we were doing at that point was the law of diminishing returns. I wasn’t servicing the story that I was really excited about telling, that the studio had green-lit. And again, this isn’t to throw shade at Will — it’s your face on the poster, it’s your name on the poster, you need to do things the way you want them done.

It looks like Will Smith didn’t agree with Joe Carnahan’s vision and it impacted the movie moving forward with him at the helm. However this turmoil placed Bad Boys 3 back in limbo. With the Miami PD elite without a director, Michael Bay was approached and he showed little interest in returning to his franchise. In his words:

Pretty soon they're going to be old boys, okay. Pretty soon they're going to be retired cops instead of active-duty cops. It's taken a long time to get that thing going, and I'm not involved in getting it going. They should get it going soon, though. You could definitely get Martin and Will to be funny again --- those were fun movies to do.

In the beginning of 2018, newcomers Adil El Arbi and Bilal Fallah began negotiations to direct the upcoming film, now titled Bad Boys For Life, with Chris Bremmer and Anthony Tambakis adding their talents to the script. It finally got back on track! Since then, production has been relatively smooth as Will Smith and Martin Lawrence have shared being back together for shooting that started in January 2019 and wrapped in April.

Bad Boys For Life will be released on January 17, 2020 and have Detectives Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett bringing down a drug cartel led by Jacob Scipio’s Armando Armas and has a supporting cast that includes Paola Nuñez, Joe Pantoliano, Vanessa Hudgens,, Alexander Ludwig, Happy Anderson, DJ Khaled and Charles Melton.

Are you excited for Bad Boys For Life? Sound off in the comments, and stay tuned to CinemaBlend for all the latest in movie news!

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.