It's official: Bad Boys for Life is the 2020 domestic box office champion. As the nightmarish year for the movie business has finally come to a close, the numbers tell a fascinating story. Most of it bad. But there were a few successes to be found amid the rubble. Namely, the long-awaited reunion of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, which proved to be both a critical and financial success that has cemented its place in the history books of a year that will not soon be forgotten.
Back in March 2020, most movie theaters in the U.S., and throughout much of the world, were forced to close due to health and safety concerns. Few movies, as a result, had the chance to have a full run at the global box office. Instead, many movies were delayed. Others opted for streaming debuts. Others still tried to grab what box office dollars were available. Sony, however, was lucky enough to release Bad Boys for Life in January. That proved to be a decision that paid off in ways nobody could have imagined it would at the time. So much so that it finished that year as the highest-grossing movie at the domestic box office, taking in $204.4 million.
1917, Sam Mendes' acclaimed WWI thriller that was originally released at the end of 2019, actually took the number two spot at the U.S. box office with $157.9 million. Sonic the Hedgehog, one of the only other certifiable box office hits of 2020, took three spot with $146 million. Rounding out the top five were Jumanji: The Next Level ($124.7 million) and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ($124.4 million). Again, both of those movies were also released toward the end of 2019.
Worldwide, Bad Boys for Life, which was directed by Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbim, who took over for Michael Bay, finished in second place. It earned $426.5 million overall, taking in 51.6 percent of its earnings overseas. That total was behind The Eight Hundred, the record-setting Chinese blockbuster that earned $461.3 million, with virtually no help from the U.S. box office.
Even taking the insane circumstances into account, the success of Bad Boys for Life should not be undercut. Considering Bad Boys II had come out 17 years earlier and earned significantly less ($273.3 million worldwide/$138.6 million domestic), it's nothing shy of impressive that the third installment performed as well as it did. Credit where credit is due, as Sony and directors Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbim made a movie that people loved and wanted to see.
Bad Boys for Life currently holds an impressive 77 percent critical approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, to go with a stellar 96 percent audience score. This was a crowd-pleaser, through and through. Case in point, Sony is already developing Bad Boys 4, with producer Jerry Bruckheimer saying in May 2020 that the script was being written. So we have not seen the last of Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett. These numbers come to us via Box Office Mojo.