When it comes to Bad Boys Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, apparently absence makes moviegoers' hearts grow fonder. ''Bad Boys II,'' the sequel to their 1995 hit, topped the box office this weekend with $46.7 million, according to studio estimates. Impressively, ''Bad Boys II'' tripled the $15.5 million debut of the original film, which grossed $65.8 million total. The sequel should top that by the end of next weekend. Even more impressively, ''Bad Boys II'' opened better than another R-rated film, ''Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,'' which grossed $44 million over the three-day portion of its opening weekend earlier this month.
Not far behind in second place was the surprise smash ''Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,'' which fell only 29 percent in its second weekend to $33.3 million. After 12 days, the Johnny Depp action comedy has grossed $132.2 million and should have no problem clearing $200 million in the next few weeks.
''The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,'' meanwhile, saw a bigger drop of 56 percent to $10.1 million, good enough for third place. The Sean Connery film has earned a mediocre $42.5 million after 10 days.
The British import ''Johnny English,'' starring Rowan Atkinson, placed fourth with $9.3 million, just ahead of ''T3,'' which fell another 53 percent to $9.2 million, bringing its totaly to $127.8 million.
The week's third new wide release, the Mandy Moore drama ''How to Deal,'' flopped with only $5.8 million, landing the film in eighth place for the weekend, behind ''Legally Blonde 2'' ($6.1 million) and ''Finding Nemo'' ($7.3 million), which crossed the $300 million mark this weekend. At this rate, it's only a matter of time until ''Nemo'' tops ''The Lion King'' to become the highest-grossing animated film ever.