‘Bad Boys for Life’ Leads Box Office as ‘The Rhythm Section’ Tanks

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.

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