The bad boys are back, but do movie audiences care? Will Smith and Martin Lawrence will find out this weekend, as ''Bad Boys II'' hits theaters.
The first ''Bad Boys'' buddy comedy was a decent-sized hit, grossing $65.6 million in 1995. But as Smith learned with ''Men in Black II,'' sequels that come out years after their predecessors don’t always fare as well. Plus, the film has the misfortune of following almost a dozen other action movies this summer. ''Bad Boys’'' R rating means we won’t see a debut for the record books, but a $35 million, No. 1 opening seems likely.
Last week’s top film, ''Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,'' should see another strong weekend thanks to positive word of mouth. A 40 percent drop to $28 million would bring its 12-day total near $125 million.
Drawing the young female audience will be teen fave Mandy Moore, who returns with the romance ''How to Deal,'' costarring Emmy nominee Allison Janney of ''The West Wing.'' Moore has proven herself a true rising star, and despite a relative lack of buzz compared to her hit ''A Walk to Remember,'' her latest entry should still premiere at No. 3 with about $15 million.
Rounding out the top five will be returning action flicks ''The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen'' and ''Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,'' which should each gross another $10 million. That would keep the week’s third new wide release, the British slapstick comedy ''Johnny English,'' out of the top five with an $8 million debut, even though the film, starring Rowan Atkinson, has become a smash across the pond. Something tells me Mr. English might be too, um, English for this country.