Will Smith, left, and Martin Lawrence arrive for the World Premiere of "Bad Boys For Life." AFP
It took Sony 17 years, but the latest "Bad Boys" sequel appears to be paying off, taking in an estimated $59.2 million for the start of a US holiday weekend, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations reported Sunday.
"Bad Boys for Life" stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as wise-cracking detectives who reunite after years apart ("Bad Boys II" dates from 2003, eight years after the original "Bad Boys") to take on a murderous Miami drug cartel.
Its North American ticket sales -- estimated at $68.1 million when Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. holiday is included -- are nearly twice original predictions, according to Variety.com.
Another new release, Universal's "Dolittle," starring Robert Downey Jr., placed second with an estimated $22.5 million for the Friday-through-Sunday period ($30 million for the four days).
"Dolittle," based on a beloved children's book about a veterinarian who can talk to the animals, has been savaged by critics -- who have called it "utterly lifeless," "a quicksand of a movie," and "shockingly unfunny."
The presence of Downey, hugely popular in the Marvel superhero films, and of an all-star voice cast including Emma Thompson, Ralph Fiennes, Antonio Banderas, Rami Malek, Octavia Spencer and Marion Cotillard, may have helped boost its fortunes.
In third was a film that has done rather better with the critics, last weekend's box office leader, "1917," also from Universal. The World War I drama has booked $22.1 million in ticket sales ($27 million for four days).
One critic called the Sam Mendes movie, filmed as if in one long, continuous shot, a "protean display of virtuoso filmmaking."
Despite a lack of big stars, it has won both the Golden Globe and the Producers Guild of America awards for best drama, and is now seen as a best-picture favorite at the Oscars.
Sony's "Jumanji: The Next Level," slid one spot from last weekend to fourth, taking in $9.6 million ($12.6 million). The action sequel stars Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Kevin Hart.
Fifth spot went to Disney's "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker," at $8.4 million ($10.6 million). Globally, the finale of the nine-film "Skywalker Saga" has now surpassed the $1 billion mark.
"Angel Has Fallen" debuted atop the North American box office with an estimated $21.3 million in ticket sales, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations reported Sunday.
"Terminator: Dark Fate" opened atop the North American box office this weekend with a take of $29 million, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations said, but analysts said that figure fell far below expectations.
Disney's new release "Frozen 2" iced out competitors to top North American box offices over the weekend, taking in an estimated $127 million, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations said Sunday.
The Boston Pops announced on Wednesday that they would be paying a special tribute to Lockhart in its 2020 season.
The Shah Rukh Khan La Trobe University PhD Scholarship was presented to Gopika Kottantharayil Bhasi from Thrissur (Kerala), working on farming practices through animal science, ecology and molecular studies.
Cussler was the prolific writer of more than 80 books, mainly fast-paced action thrillers such as "Sahara" and "Raise the Titanic!” which collectively sold tens of millions of copies.