Movies

‘Bad Boys: Ride Or Die’s Jerry Bruckheimer On Future Fifth Film, ‘Top Gun 3’ & Reviving Box Office: “The Audience Is There”

Before Marvel movies would fill slots on a schedule, Jerry Bruckheimer productions did, and still do.

Similar to 2003 when the blockbuster producer had Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Bad Boys II, Veronica Guerin and Kangaroo Jack on the calendar, Bruckheimer counts a four feature-spree this spring and summer with Lionsgate’s The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, his highest test movie ever in Disney’s Young Woman and the Sea, Netflix’s upcoming July event title Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F and this last weekend’s Bad Boys: Ride or Die which revived a dull summer movie season with a $105M global opening, beating expectations and pulling in a diverse audience that was 70% combined for Black and Latino/Hispanic moviegoers. Through yesterday, Bad Boys: Ride or Die stands at $120M global.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die reps the 28th No. 1 opening for the $14.06 billion grossing, Oscar nominated producer. Here’s our chat with Bruckheimer:

What does the success, and the overindexing of Bad Boys: Ride or Die say to you?
If you make something the audience wants to see, they’re going to go see it. It’s that simple. If it works for them, they’ll line up. I wish we all knew what that was. We all have hits every time — (and then) we don’t.

But you do have hits.
The audience is a lot smarter than we are.

But you have a great track record when it comes to being smart about the audience.
Well, I don’t know what the audience wants, I just make what I like. I just try to make movies that I want to go see. We’ve done it a number of times. With Bad Boys, Top Gun, and Beverly Hills Cop, it’s part nostalgia and giving them something fresh and new, that’s always the case. They love these characters, they love Will (Smith) and Martin (Lawrence), their adventures and what they go through in their life. What they want, they want the same feeling, but they want something different. I think we’re very fortunate and we gave the audience exactly that.

There’s often been a long delay between Bad Boys sequels, but this one was pretty short to get off the ground with four years between installments. Why was there always a long gap and why did this one get off the ground so quickly?
Sony and Tom Rothman really wanted to make it right away. They worked really hard on it, so did Will and Martin, our directors and writers, and everybody really came to the table right away, and broke story. You take that ride, and you give audiences something a little different. People want to laugh, it’s not fun out there. There’s no good stories in the news. People want to get away and escape and there’s nothing better to escape to than a movie theater. Ya know what’s fun about it? It’s a group experience, people love to laugh together. When people start laughing, it rattles the whole audience. They applaud after certain experiences and feel good when they walk out.

Evident in Will Smith’s video when he surprised the audience in Baldwin Hills this weekend.
That was crazy.

What is it about these filmmakers Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah that makes them prime for this franchise?
You look at some of those sequences and how they excite you. That whole helicopter sequence and the end of the movie, how they move the camera and work with their DP to create these wonderful sequences, they’re really masters at it.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die revived the box office this weekend and many have been scared about theatrical. Can you think back on a time during your career, when you were concerned about the fate of theatrical and depressed box office, and there was a film that changed it for the better?
It happens, I can’t give you a specific date. I know we’ve had dips for certain pictures that were sure winners that didn’t happen and something else sneaks in there and becomes a huge hit. The audience is there, you just gotta give them something that they want to see and we don’t know what that is, but we do our best efforts.

'Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F' trailer

Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F — look, a long delayed sequel, I think a lot of people want to see it theaters, but it’s going to streaming. As a producer in today’s world, one needs to be agnostic, and can’t be married to one distribution outlet. Please discuss.
Paramount sold it to Netflix and they wanted us to make it. We love Eddie (Murphy), and he was interested and we came up with a story he liked. All of us want to be in theaters, but there are other ways to entertain people. All these different venues you have to screen things and see things, just adds more talent to the marketplace where you find people, you see writers, actors, directors, so the more places we can view things, it’s better for everybody.

Are you already in early development on a fifth Bad Boys?
We’ve had discussions but we want to see how this one did at the box office, and I’m sure we’ll have conversations this week.

Is F1 getting a theatrical distributor beyond its Imax release?
It will, really soon.

Do you have an update on Top Gun 3?
We’ve got some interesting ideas we’ve talked to Tom Cruise about, but we don’t have a script yet. It will be a while.

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