Bad Boys II
July 18, 2003
In 1995, producing legend Jerry Bruckheimer showed astonishing foresight when he took a shot on two largely-unknown actors and an untested director. This trio was charged with the task of creating a buddy action film with some humor thrown in. Since these people were not name actors and the project was a risk to the studio, the budget was a miniscule $23 million and there were low expectations all around. Bad Boys surprised onlookers with a $15.5 million opening weekend and went on to make $140 million worldwide.
That was then.
We know the three then-newbies a bit better these days. Michael Bay, the director, has gone on to helm The Rock, Armageddon and Pearl Harbor. These three films have combined for worldwide box office of $1.3 billion. Martin Lawrence has gone to prove himself as a solid box-office draw, with hit films Blue Streak, Life, and Big Momma's House. These three films have combined for almost $350 million in worldwide receipts on budgets making up roughly a third of this total.
And then there's Will Smith. He cleverly re-invented himself from a television gig as the Fresh Prince into a wise-cracking action hero of epic proportions. He catapulted from Bad Boys into lead roles in Independence Day, Men in Black, Enemy of the State and Wild, Wild West. These films combined for worldwide box office in the staggering amount of $1.86 billion.
Summing up, the three unknowns from Bad Boys went on to make ten films that combined to earn $3.5 billion and became the hottest director and two of the biggest names in acting in Hollywood.
This is now.
Bad Boys 2 has been rumored forever and, in fact, has been infamous for its Internet buzz as the original film has gained an impressive following on video and cable. The problem for Sony is simple: How do you take a film that was originally made for $23 million and make a sequel using a cast with two actors who have both received more than that for one film? What about a director who (rightly) expects a percentage of the cut? With these issues looming large, a sequel to Bad Boys has moved further and further on the back burner as the careers of the players have soared.
Recently, however, some hedges have been made. First of all, Martin Lawrence's last two films, What's the Worst That Could Happen? and Black Knight, are both financial disappointments. Smith's two films prior to Men in Black II, Ali and The Legend of Bagger Vance, were also not blockbusters, though he did receive an Oscar nomination for his work as the prizefighting legend. With Bay coming off of a sweeping epic in Pearl Harbor, he too is looking to go in a different direction and more familiar territory. The timing is right for the three stars to align for what is expected to be one of the biggest films of 2003.
This is the double-edged sword of the situation; while the stars and director are costly and the budget will need to be monumentally large, a Michael Bay film starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence is a film that pretty much everyone in America is going to have at least some interest in seeing. We don't know much about the project at this point beyond the usual Internet rumor and innuendo phase, but if Bad Boys 2 really does come together with these three talents on board, it's a monster. (David Mumpower/BOP)
Comparison films for Bad Boys II
|Men in Black II
|Men In Black
|Big Momma's House
|Enemy of The State
|What's the Worst That Could Happen?
|Legend of Bagger Vance
|Warlock: The Armageddon