This weekend’s global box office sales were severely diminished by the outbreak of the SARS-like coronavirus in China and its rapid spread to neighboring countries and beyond. Authorities in the PRC ordered the closure of all movie theaters and the cancellation of New Year’s celebrations in an effort to contain the virus, whose mortality and rate of transmission is, as yet, unclear. The country is rightfully shaken and going to the theaters is near the bottom of anybody’s list of priorities.
In 2019 the first three days of the Chinese New Year’s holiday brought $345 million to the local box office and the full holiday period was worth around $850 million. So far China has ordered that the holiday, and its mandated closure of schools and government offices, be extended by three days. In Shanghai, the shutdown has been lengthened by a full week beyond that. It’s still too early to know exactly what toll this epidemic will take on China’s film industry but it will certainly be in the billions and represent a loss of at least 10% of the year’s projected revenue.
Bad Boys for Life led this stunted weekend at the global box office with a $76 million take in its second frame, reaching cumulative earnings of $215.6 million worldwide. It came out on top in the US for the second time in a row and added $34 million to bring its domestic total to $120.644 million. The first Bad Boys, which was released in 1995 when Will Smith, now in his 50s, was 27, earned a total of $141 million. Adjusted for inflation, that comes to around $240.2 million. Bad Boys 2 opened eight years later in 2003 and was another huge hit for Smith and costar Martin Lawrence. It earned what equates to roughly $388 million in today’s currency and may prove just out of reach for this weekend’s box office champ.
Overseas, Bad Boys For Life earned $95 million and added two major markets. New plays in Russia were worth $4.7 million, it earned $4.1 million from its start in France. The U.K. is still its top venue outside of the US with $10.7 million gleaned from theaters there, with Germany behind it at $9.6 million. Mexico and Australia have been strong for Bad Boys 3 as well at $8.1 million and $7.6 million respectively.
Globe winner and Oscar frontrunner 1917 finished second on the global chart with $39.5 million worldwide and reached a lifetime cumulative earnings of $200.483 million. Universal’s grand World War I feature made $15.8 million in the US and $23.7 million abroad where the UK was again its biggest market. Sales there, where the film was shot and from where its director and the majority of the actors are from, netted $5.87 million and brought local earnings to $34.33 million.
Newcomer The Gentlemen, Guy Ritchie’s first typical quippy London crime film since he took a hiatus from his typical fair to do Sherlock Holmes movies and family-friendly PG-13 adventure films, earned $11.5 million in its US debut. That was enough to put it in fourth place. Total global sales are now at $35.5 million, with $12.4 million coming from the UK.
In holdover news, Frozen 2 is somehow staying in the top 10 more than two months into its release. It added $9.9 million this weekend and reached lifetime global earnings of $1.419 billion as it extends its lead as the bestselling animated title of all time. It has now passed Avengers: Age of Ultron and is the ninth highest-grossing film ever.
Next weekend, dark fairy tale adaptation Gretel & Hansel opens in the US.
See the latest world box office estimates: