Box Office: 'Bad Boys for Life' Zooms to Huge $73M, 'Dolittle' Bombs With $29.5M

Two films debuting over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend featured two of the world's biggest movie stars: Will Smith and Robert Downey Jr.

While one Hollywood reboot successfully restarted a film franchise at the weekend box office, moviegoers banished the other to pasture.

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence's Bad Boys for Life — opening 17 years after the last installment in their franchise hit the big screen — zoomed to an estimated $73.4 million over the four-day Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, including $62.2 million for the three days (that's up from Sunday's estimates of $68 million and $59.2 million). The film's release marks the second-best showing ever for the holiday frame, and Sony's biggest R-rated bow.

The action-comedy also wowed overseas, where it collected $37.3 million from 39 markets.

Bad Boys 3 continues Sony's winning streak following Jumanji: The Next Level and best picture Oscar contenders Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Little Women. And there's already movement on a Bad Boys 4 follow-up.

The movie's audience was led by African-Americans (42 percent) and males (56 percent). Impressively, 58 percent of ticket buyers were 35 years old and younger, according to PostTrak. Bad Boys 3 cost $90 million to produce before marketing. Years in the making because of budget concerns, the R-rated pic was directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah. It scored solid reviews and an A CinemaScore.

Bad Boys for Life — which has a shot at grossing well north of $160 million domestically by the end of its run — is a needed win for Smith, who is among the movie's producers, following his big-budget miss Gemini Man.

One of the world's other major movie stars, Robert Downey Jr., didn't enjoy the same weekend, however, as Universal's Dolittle wasn't so fortunate at the box office.

The big-budget effort, which stars Downey in his first post-Iron Man role, bombed in its U.S. debut with an estimated four-day debut of $29.5 million, including $22 million for the three days. (That down from Sunday's estimates of $30 million and $22.5 million, respectively).

At this rate, the family movie could lose tens of millions for Universal unless it performs well internationally. So far overseas, Dolittle has earned $30.3 million from its first raft of territories for a projected global total of $57 million through Sunday, but it has yet to bow in most major markets (the only two so far are South Korea and Australia).

Dolittle — which hoped to create a new chapter in the film franchise about a man who can converse with animals — was savaged by critics, while audiences gave it a so-so B CinemaScore. While it did come in slightly ahead of expectations in North America, it wasn't enough. The pic skewed female (61 percent) and Caucasian (60 percent). Ticket buyers gave the film a so-so B CinemaScore.

Produced by Team Downey and Joe Roth, Dolittle was supposed to open last May, but its release was delayed twice after Universal rushed to rework parts of the story and complete reshoots. Director Stephen Gaghan (Syriana, Traffic) had never before helmed a movie laden with special effects.

The last Dr. Dolittle effort, starring Eddie Murphy, hit the big screen 19 years ago and was set in contemporary times. This time out, the story is set in the Victorian era, akin to Hugh Lofting's children's books.

The timing isn't ideal for Universal following the box office bomb Cats (both films rely heavily on VFX, not to mention animals).

Universal can, however, revel in the success of Sam Mendes and Amblin Entertainment's awards frontrunner 1917, which scored 10 Oscar nominations on Jan. 13, including for best picture. The film also won top honors from the Producers Guild of America on Saturday night. 

The World War I epic grossed an estimated $27 million over the MLK holiday weekend, including $22 million for the three days, the same as Dolittle. 1917 is also winning battles overseas, where it grossed another $27 million for an early worldwide total of $139 million.

Jumanji 2, which came in No. 4 with a projected $12.6 million for the four days, topped Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ($10.6 million) for the first time. Globally, Jumanji' has passed the $700 million mark, while Star Wars resides at $1.03 billion.

Little Women followed in sixth place domestically with an estimated $7.4 million for a cume of $85.9 million through Monday, while overseas it earned another $6.2 million from only 13 markets for a pleasing foreign tally of $44.3 million and $130.2 million globally.

Greta Gerwig's Little Women and 1917 weren't the only best picture Oscar contenders enjoying a post-nominations bump.

Adding 496 theaters for a total location count of 843 — its widest footprint to date in the U.S. — Bong Joon Ho's Parasite, from Neon, posted an estimated four-day gross of $2.2 million for a domestic tally of $28.2 million through Monday.

Parasite placed No. 14, followed by Fox Searchlight and Taika Waititi's Jojo Rabbit, which upped its theater count by 985 locations to 1,005 following Oscar nominations. The dramedy earned an estimated $1.7 million for the four days for a domestic total of $23.8 million through Monday.

Best picture Oscar contender Ford v Ferrari likewise increased its screen count from 513 to 1,080 locations to gross an estimated $1.3 million for the four days for a domestic tally of $113 million.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Joker also tried to capitalize on their nominations by going back into cinemas, but since both are available on home entertainment, their weekend box office results were nominal, with the films taking in an estimated $365,000 and $430,000, respectively.

Jan. 20, 7:45 a.m. Updated with revised weekend numbers.