It has been two months since the incident at the Oscars involving Will Smith and Chris Rock and the industry is still feeling the effects, as many of Smith‘s future projects have either been delayed or were announced to be not moving forward. Following the incident, there was a rumor that Bad Boys 4 had also been shelved, but in a recent interview with Deadline, Sony Chairman Tom Rothman disputed that claim.
In the interview, when asked directly about the film’s status, Rothman stated:
No. That was inaccurate. That movie’s been in development and still is. There weren’t any brakes to pump because the car wasn’t moving. That was a very unfortunate thing that happened, and I don’t think it’s really my place to comment, except to say that I’ve known Will Smith for many years, and I know him to be a good person. That was an example of a very good person having a very bad moment, in front of the world. I believe his apology and regret is genuine, and I believe in forgiveness and redemption.
While it makes sense right now that Sony potentially would not go forward with Bad Boys 4, financially speaking, it’s another story entirely. The franchise as a whole has made over $700 million worldwide so far. The last film, Bad Boys for Life was the most profitable in the franchise making $436 million worldwide. It was the highest grossing film of 2020 and, even though theaters were closed for most of that year due to the pandemic, that box office growth is too good to ignore. In an interview where Rothman’s theme was theatrical box office performance, it is easy to see why Bad Boys would not be off the table for that sole reason alone.
Based on Rothman‘s comments, it sounds like the sequel’s progress stalled before the now infamous slap, which led to Smith‘s resignation from The Academy and subsequent ban from Academy events for the next ten years. While Rothman indicated that he believed Smith‘s apology was sincere, it doesn’t change the fact that the project seems to be in creative limbo, and we’re probably not going to see Bad Boys 4 for at least the next few years.
Hopefully, Bad Boys 4 will happen eventually as it’s a very beloved action franchise and many hardworking individuals have worked on the series in the past. As we wait for Bad Boys to return, you can read Rothman’s full Deadline interview where he details Sony’s near future.