Sony’s “Bad Boys for Life” is keeping the North American box office healthy as it heads for its third weekend crown at domestic multiplexes with about $17.4 million at 3,705 sites, estimates showed Saturday.

But Paramount’s spy thriller “The Rhythm Section,” starring Blake Lively, has tanked in ninth-place with a $2.9 million launch at 3,049 North American locations — well below pre-release expectations in the $4 million to $8 million range. Opening-day audiences have given the film an unimpressive C+ Cinemascore to go with its 29% Rotten Tomatoes mark from critics.

Lively teams with Jude Law in “Rhythm Section,” an R-rated action drama about a woman investigating a plane crash that killed her family. The project has a respectable pedigree as it’s produced by “James Bond” mainstays Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, and carries a $50 million price tag. Reed Morano (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) directed the movie from a script by Mark Burnell, based on one of his Stephanie Patrick novels.

Orion’s horror fantasy “Gretel & Hansel” launched at the lower end of expectations with about $5.7 million from 3,007 venues. The film, directed by Oz Perkins, has a $5 million production price tag. Sophia Lillis (“It,” “Sharp Objects”) portrays Gretel in the new version of the fairytale. Reviews were mixed with a 60% Rotten Tomatoes score. Opening-day audiences were underwhelmed and gave “Gretel & Hansel” a C- Cinemascore.

“Bad Boys for Life,” the third iteration of the Will Smith-Martin Lawrence cop franchise, should finish the weekend with more than $147 million domestically. The film has been a key driver in lifting the 2020 domestic box office by more than 10% over the first month of last year.

Universal’s sixth frame of its awards contender “1917” will finish in second with $9.4 million at 3,987 locations to lift its North American total to $119 million. The World War I drama was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and won the top prizes from the Directors Guild and Producers Guild.

Universal’s third weekend of “Dolittle” will land in third with $8 million at 3,750 sites to push its 17-day total to around $55 million. “Gretel & Hansel,” STX’s second session of Matthew McConaughey comedy “The Gentlemen,” and Sony’s eighth weekend of “Jumanji: The Next Level” will battle for fourth place. “The Gentleman” garnered $5.8 million from 2,675 sites this weekend, with “The Next Level” taking in $6 million from 2,945 locations. The “Jumanji” sequel has gone past $290 million domestically in less than two months.

Studios tend to regard the Super Bowl weekend as a dead zone, opting to hold off on releasing buzzy titles — such as Warner Bros.’ “Birds of Prey,” which opens Feb. 7 amid expectations of a $50 million launch. As a result, the overall Super Bowl weekend box office for North America has been under $100 million for the past four years. The 2019 weekend totaled a meager $75 million, according to Comscore.