Ride or Die Earns $5.9M in Previews
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Ride or Die Earns $5.9M in Previews

Sony’s latest installment in the “Bad Boys” franchise, “Ride or Die,” has made a notable splash at the box office, raking in $5.9 million during its Thursday night previews. This figure is only slightly below the $6.3 million earned by its predecessor, “Bad Boys for Life,” in 2020. The film is now projected to have a strong opening weekend, with estimates ranging from $40 million to $50 million, although Sony has set a more conservative expectation at $30 million.

The demographic breakdown for the previews showed a diverse audience: 36% Black, 29% Hispanic and Latino, 20% Caucasian, 10% Asian, and 4% other. Men over 25 made up 40% of the audience, closely followed by women over 25 at 38%. The film has received positive feedback, scoring 5 stars and 88% positive on Screen Engine and PostTrak, and it seems poised to continue the franchise’s tradition of earning an “A” CinemaScore.

“Bad Boys: Ride or Die” marks Will Smith’s first major theatrical release since the controversial incident at the 2022 Oscars, where he slapped Chris Rock. Despite the negative press, Smith’s return to the big screen appears to be well-received, with many fans expressing excitement about his comeback. The film’s success could be a significant step in rehabilitating Smith’s public image, especially as he gears up for the “I Am Legend” sequel.

The film, directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, follows Miami cops Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) as they go on the run to clear their late police captain’s name, who has been posthumously linked to drug cartels. The movie’s budget is set at $100 million, and its performance this weekend will be crucial in determining its overall success.

In addition to “Bad Boys: Ride or Die,” this weekend also sees the release of Ishana Night Shyamalan’s supernatural thriller “The Watchers,” produced by her father, M. Night Shyamalan. However, “The Watchers” is not expected to perform as well, with projections around $10 million.

The positive reception for “Ride or Die” is a welcome relief for theater owners, who have faced several disappointing weekends at the box office. The film’s strong start could signal a turnaround for the summer box office, which has been lagging behind previous years. The movie’s success is also a testament to the enduring appeal of the “Bad Boys” franchise, which has consistently drawn audiences since its debut.

Social media buzz around “Ride or Die” has been overwhelmingly positive, with fans praising the balance between action and comedy. Many have expressed their excitement about seeing Smith and Lawrence back in action, with some even suggesting that this installment feels more like a true “Bad Boys” movie compared to the previous entry.

Sony’s marketing efforts have also paid off, with the film’s social media presence running 15% above average for action-adventure films. Will Smith’s own social media channels have been particularly effective, generating over 150 million views for promotional content.

In comparison, other films opening this weekend are not faring as well. “The Watchers” has received mixed reviews and a lukewarm audience response, with a C- CinemaScore and a 57% Rotten Tomatoes audience score. Despite a strong social media presence, the film’s negative chatter has dampened its prospects.

Meanwhile, Sony’s “The Garfield Movie” continues to perform steadily, eyeing a $10.3 million third weekend for a running total of $68.9 million. Paramount’s family movie “IF” is also holding its own, with a projected fourth weekend total of $7.1 million, bringing its cumulative gross to $92.6 million.

Overall, “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” is off to a promising start, and its performance this weekend will be closely watched by industry insiders. The film’s success could provide a much-needed boost to the summer box office and reaffirm the enduring popularity of the “Bad Boys” franchise.