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'Bad Boys 3' in the works

Peter Craig will write the screenplay

Columbia Pictures is developing a third installment of the high-octane "Bad Boys" franchise, tapping Peter Craig to pen the screenplay.

The hope is to have a script that would reunite director Michael Bay, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. At this point, with the project in the early stages, none has a deal to return.

The "Boys" movies feature Smith and Lawrence as Miami detectives Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett, caught up in cases involving car chases and explosions.

The first "Boys," released in 1995, helped launch Bay as a director and Smith as an action star even though it was not a fire-stamped blockbuster -- it grossed $66 million domestically and $141 million worldwide.

The sequel, released in 2003 when Bay and Smith's stars had risen, grossed $138 million domestically and $273 million worldwide.

All parties have expressed a willingness to return if a story can be hammered out. One potential hurdle, however, would be the costly deals with the players.

Craig, repped by CAA and Management 360, co-wrote "The Town," which Ben Affleck is directing for Warner Bros. and which shoots in Boston next month. He is adapting anime "Cowboy Bebop" for 20th Century Fox and Keanu Reeves.