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Bad Boys & The Bummer Summer

Bad Boys: Ride or Die
The difference between the projected opening weekend gross and the actual debut figure is too often discussed in terms of the movie failing or overperforming, instead of whether the tracking, itself, was incorrect. Photo: Hector Vivas/Getty Images
Scott Mendelson
June 3, 2024

After a miserable May at the box office, Hollywood’s hopes seem pinned on Sony’s Bad Boys: Ride or Die, the Will Smith and Martin Lawrence action sequel out June 7—and the latest faux tentpole in a summer filled with them. But executives won’t only be concerned with the actual performance of a franchise whose most recent entry debuted to $72 million over the long President’s Day weekend in early 2020, right before Covid shut down the world. They’ll also be closely following how Ride or Die performs against its $50 million-$55 million tracking for opening weekend.

This year’s bummer summer seems all the worse because prerelease tracking has been off for three of the most recent tentpole weekends. For example, The Fall Guy was projected to debut with $35 million but came in just under $28 million. Two weeks later, IF debuted not to $40 million as projected but $33.7 million. But tracking, which has never been a perfect science, appears to be bearing too much weight this summer as a chew toy for Hollywood’s collective anxiety.