Blockbuster Boost: “Bad Boys 4” Shines, but Cinemas Crave More Hits to Save Summer

Bad Boys Ride or Die’ Global Box Office Passes Coveted Milestone in Debut

“Bad Boys: Ride or Die” has delivered a much-needed jolt to the box office, but the latest installment in the action-comedy series, starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, can’t salvage the entire summer season on its own.

Arriving with $56 million in domestic ticket sales, the film met high expectations. Despite this, the overall year-to-date box office deficit grew more pronounced, now lagging 26% behind 2023, according to Comscore.

Box Office Struggles Continue

“Bad Boys 4” isn’t the sole culprit for the decline. Analysts point to a general lack of enthusiasm for other titles. Among the top five releases, Sony’s animated “The Garfield Movie” earned $10 million, Paramount’s fantasy comedy “IF” pulled in $8 million, Warner Bros.’ supernatural thriller “The Watchers” debuted with $7.4 million, and Disney’s sequel “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” garnered $5.4 million. The latter two films have been in theaters for four to five weekends already.

In contrast, the same weekend in 2023 saw significant box office activity. “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” led with $61 million, “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” earned $55.5 million in its second week, and Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” added $23.1 million in its third weekend. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” and “The Boogeyman” each contributed around $7 million, making for tough comparisons.

Summer Blockbusters Underwhelm

Overall, this summer has been slow for big-budget blockbusters. Universal’s “The Fall Guy” grossed $85 million domestically and $165 million globally, while Warner Bros.’ “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” made $58 million domestically and $144.4 million globally. Both fell short of expectations.

However, analysts remain hopeful. The adage that moviegoing begets moviegoing could hold true if “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” sparks sustained interest. With Pixar’s “Inside Out 2” (June 14) and “A Quiet Place: Day One” (June 28) on the horizon, June might see a boost. July promises potential hits like “Despicable Me 4” (July 3), “Twisters” (July 19), and Marvel’s “Deadpool & Wolverine” (July 28).

Impact of Labor Strikes

Last year’s dual labor strikes are partially to blame for this summer’s sluggish performance. Many big releases were postponed to 2025 and beyond as Hollywood shut down. “We haven’t refilled the release schedule yet,” says David A. Gross of Franchise Entertainment Research. “It’s going to take time.”

The volume of new releases has declined compared to pre-pandemic summers, remaining flat with last year’s crop from May through June 9. In 2019, there were 18 new offerings by this point, compared to 12 in 2023 and 2024. Despite this, this summer season is 35% behind last year’s, according to Comscore.

Quality Over Quantity

“Quality is more important than quantity,” says senior Comscore analyst Paul Dergarabedian. He notes that 2023 was stronger because the titles released then outperformed expectations. As the industry continues to recover, the focus will likely remain on delivering high-quality films that can draw audiences back to theaters and revitalize the summer box office.

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