LOS ANGELES -- This weekend at the box office, old things were made new again as Sony released its long-delayed "Bad Boys" sequel and Universal sought to introduce a younger audience to the classic Dr. Dolittle character.
In first place, "Bad Boys for Life" opened with an impressive $59.2 million and an estimated $68.1 million through the holiday, well above studio projections of $38 million for the four days, according to estimates from measurement firm Comscore. Globally, the film is already expected to cross the $100 million milestone this extended holiday weekend.
A follow-up to 1995's "Bad Boys" and 2003's "Bad Boys II," the film reunites Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as seasoned Miami cops forced to reckon with the violence they've wreaked as retirement looms on the horizon.
The $90 million action comedy boasts the second-highest opening for Martin Luther King Jr. weekend after "American Sniper," which opened on MLK weekend in 2014 to $107.2 million, and a franchise best. Comparatively, "Bad Boys II" opened to $46 million 17 years ago and wrapped its entire theatrical run with $65.8 million.
"Bad Boys for Life" was positively received, with an A CinemaScore and a 75% "fresh" rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes. Sony is already developing a fourth installment, with screenwriter Chris Bremner set to return.
In second place, Universal's "Dolittle" debuted to $22.5 million through the weekend and an estimated $30 million through Monday.
Starring Robert Downey Jr. as the titular veterinarian, the $175 million period film comes 19 years after Eddie Murphy inhabited the character and more than 50 years after Rex Harrison talked to the animals. It was poorly received, with a B CinemaScore and a 19% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
"Dolittle" was originally scheduled for release May 2019 but was delayed twice after Universal sought to rework the script and complete reshoots. The disappointing result follows on the heels of the studio's recent box office bomb, "Cats."
On a brighter note for the studio, at No. 3, Universal and Amblin's "1917" added $22.1 million in its fourth weekend for a cumulative $76.8 million, plus an additional $4.9 million expected Monday. The film scored 10 Oscar nominations last week, including a best picture nod.
In fourth place, Sony's "Jumanji: The Next Level" added $9.6 million in its sixth weekend for a cumulative $270.5 million, with an anticipated $3 million Monday.