In a hilarious turn of events – informed by a not-so-hilarious pandemic – Bad Boys For Life is currently the biggest Hollywood film of 2020 by default (even bigger than Christopher Nolan’s Tenet). The third instalment of the Will Smith + Martin Lawrence fronted trilogy holds the year’s largest global box office intake at US$426,505,244. Which begs the question: are we seriously going to see Bad Boys For Life cop an Academy Award due to the lack of viable competition?
In case you were wondering, this is what the current “competition” looks like:
#2 – Tenet (US$307,700,000)
#3 – Sonic The Hedgehog (US$306,766,470)
#4 – Dolittle (US$245,516,662)
#5 – Birds Of Prey (US$201,858,461)
But the global crown actually belongs to a Chinese war film – The Eight Hundred – which has managed to rake in US$441,656,664 to date, effectively edging out Bad Boys For Life by a good US$15,000,000. Many initially believed Tenet had the potential to become king and even revive cinemas. Its underwhelming commercial performance in the face of unprecedented times, however, has sadly yielded a gravely different result.
Of course, box office intake has never truly dictated whether or not a film gets to take home that golden statuette. Though it’s worth mentioning that given how every other major release has been put on ice, some indefinitely, the films listed above are also some of the year’s biggest Hollywood films by default.
Only time will tell how studios the world over shall proceed in the next few months. Universal, for one, opted to make titles which were still in their theatrical run available on-demand for US$20; Disney followed suit with their release of Mulan; Amazon has even acquired the direct streaming rights to Borat 2, scheduled for streaming later this month. Perhaps it won’t be long before other studios and distributors start playing ball with the masses – i.e. No Time To Die, Top Gun: Maverick – wising up to the reality that online streaming may save cinema in 2020… as well as giving Bad Boys For Life some real competition.
As we’ve previously discussed, streaming as a cinematic medium has slowly but surely positioned itself as the next step in the evolution. Netflix, for example, has been racking up all the right attention with their original films. Most recently, The Irishman, Marriage Story, The Two Popes, Uncut Gems, and The King all received nods by industry award bodies – Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 now positioned to receive similar critical attention. Throw in their viewership stats and it certainly makes a case for itself in terms of legitimacy.
We have an interesting year ahead of us. Beyond cinema alone.