When we found out that Bad Boys For Life was opening in January, a month usually reserved for mediocre horror films and creative duds, there was a healthy degree of skepticism that the film could actually be good and become a financial success. Now that the third movie in the action-comedy franchise has hit theaters, the holiday weekend release date is looking like savvy business strategy. Here’s how much extra money Bad Boys For Life made by opening over MLK Jr. weekend.
When we reported the weekend box office results Sunday evening, it was looking like Bad Boys For Life would win the four-day weekend with a $68.4 million debut. That was already stellar given that the threequel was projected to open to $40 million, but Bad Boys actually wound up going higher. Once all the money was counted, that opening weekend number was revised to $73.03 million. And according to Box Office Mojo, $10.52 million of that came on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
If you just count the traditional three-day figures, Bad Boys For Life made $62.5 million opening weekend. But by opening over the holiday weekend, the film tacked on roughly an extra 14.4% to its domestic debut with $10.52 million on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The January 20 total for the film represented a 38.7% drop from its Sunday figures, which makes sense because lots of people don’t get that holiday off of work so not as many could go to the movies. But there were still more people off than a normal Monday and you’ve got to think the drop would have been much steeper had Bad Boys For Life opened over a regular three-day weekend.
While opening over MLK Jr. weekend clearly benefited Bad Boys For Life, that weekend doesn’t automatically guarantee success. Bad Boys did its part by actually being good and receiving fairly positive reviews. That got people in the theaters and positive word of mouth, evidenced by an A CinemaScore, kept them coming throughout the weekend.
All in all Bad Boys For Life easily had the franchise’s best debut and that’s only counting the three-day. Michael Bay’s Bad Boys II had the previous record with $46.52 million. Bad Boys For Life also surpassed Ride Along’s $48.6 million to score the second-best MLK Jr. opening weekend ever, behind only American Sniper’s $107.2 million.
So opening in January over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend looks to have been a smart move for Bad Boys For Life and while there are obviously tons of other factors to consider like competition and production schedule, Sony would be wise to at least look at a similar strategy for the in-development Bad Boys 4 to try and duplicate this film’s success.