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Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in Bad Boys for Life

There are still some huge movies yet to come in 2019, but as we approach the end of the year, it’s time to start looking ahead to 2020. And next year gets off to a fast start in January with the release of the long-anticipated and long-delayed third film in the Bad Boys franchise. Bad Boys for Life, starring Martin Lawrence and Will Smith, opens in theaters on January 17, and word's come in on how much money the action-comedy could make opening weekend.

The long-range tracking is in and Bad Boys for Life is forecasted to make between $24 million and $34 million in its four-day opening weekend, according to Box Office Pro. Bad Boys for Life opens in advance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday, January 20. So it is opening over the first holiday weekend of 2020 and the $24-$34 million forecast applies to the four-day frame.

For the traditional Friday-Sunday opening weekend, Bad Boys for Life is tracking between $21 million and $31 million, with Box Office Pro predicting a $25 million three-day debut for the threequel. It is important to note that this long-range tracking is just a prediction, and an early one at that.

There is still a little less than two months and a marketing push to go, so where Bad Boys for Life ultimately lands at the box office could either be within this range or well outside of it on either side. Nevertheless, this gives us an early indicator of where the long-awaited film could end up.

If Bad Boys for Life does land in the $24-$34 million ballpark, it will have done much better than the first film in the franchise, Michael Bay’s Bad Boys, which opened to $15.5 million in 1995 (not adjusted for inflation). Even if it comes in at the high end of tracking though, it won’t quite match the last film in the franchise, 2003’s Bad Boys II. That sequel opened in the middle of summer to $46.2 million.

As far as what Bad Boys for Life has going for it, the return of Martin Lawrence and Will Smith could entice fans of the first film who have long wanted to see a third film to venture out to theaters. The last film in the franchise also did fairly well, earning $138.6 million domestically and $273.3 million worldwide.

Additionally, the reaction to the trailers for Bad Boys for Life has been positive, indicating that there is interest in this film and revisiting these characters. Opening over the MLK holiday weekend could also help its prospects. However, there are also reasons to be cautious.

The first is that it is opening in January. While that may be a prudent financial decision to avoid the more blockbuster-heavy summer months, January isn’t known as a dumping ground for no reason. If Bad Boys for Life is indeed being dumped in January, it could indicate a perceived weakness in the film that would not bode well for its word of mouth. Conversely, if it's good, it could find its audience in January.

Will Smith’s Gemini Man wasn’t a huge hit, but that didn’t have a recognizable brand going for it. That said, recognizable brands aren’t always recognizable or desirable to everyone. Just this year, long-awaited reboots and sequels to big name properties, like Terminator: Dark Fate, Charlie’s Angels and Men in Black International, have all commercially disappointed. It remains to be seen if Bad Boys for Life will buck that trend.

As far as competition is concerned, January isn’t particularly stacked, but Bad Boys for Life is not guaranteed the win at the box office over MLK weekend. Also opening on January 17 is the Robert Downey Jr. film Dolittle. That film is tracking to open ahead of Bad Boys with $35 million to $55 million over the four-day weekend.

We’ll see if the Bad Boys franchise really is for life when Bad Boys for Life opens on January 17. Check out our 2020 Release Schedule to keep track of all of next year’s biggest movies and for the latest box office news, stay tuned to CinemaBlend.

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