Martin Lawrence confirms return for Bad Boys 4 with Will Smith

Martin Lawrence at Gemini Man Los Angeles Premiere
Martin Lawrence at the Gemini Man Los Angeles Premiere held at TCL Chinese Theatre. Pic credit: © Thompson/AdMedia

Actor Martin Lawrence says that Bad Boys 4 will move forward despite Will Smith’s controversial incident at the Academy Awards earlier this year.

The 57-year-old comedian, also known for his hit sitcom Martin, indicated they’ve got “at least” one more installment in the popular buddy cop action-comedy series.

Lawrence and Smith appeared in three films for the franchise so far, including the 2020 blockbuster Bad Boys for Life, which co-starred actress Vanessa Hudgens, among others.

However, Lawrence’s main co-star, Will Smith, was involved in that infamous slap heard around the world on Oscars night when he marched up to the stage and smacked Chris Rock, following a joke Rock delivered about Jada Pinkett-Smith, Will’s wife.

While Smith claimed the Best Actor award later in the night, he was later punished by the Academy, receiving a 10-year ban from their events.

Smith, considered a major draw for films before the Oscars incident, also began to lose various projects he’d been attached to, or in some cases, they were shelved or postponed.

Despite his co-star’s controversy, Martin Lawrence has confirmed his participation in a fourth film in the franchise, which first launched in 1995.

Martin Lawrence on Bad Boys’ success: ‘It was different’

For Martin Lawrence, his sitcom had been his biggest career achievement, as the standup comedian said TV was like his “college years.” However, he said he felt he leveled up once he had a major blockbuster film with 1995’s Bad Boys alongside fellow sitcom star Will Smith.

“It was big,” Lawrence said about the franchise’s launch, per IGN. “For us to come together and prove that we can deliver, and we can pull people into the box office—that two Black stars, two sitcom stars, could make money at the box office [was huge]. I didn’t go to college, so I felt TV was my college years. I felt with movies, I had graduated; it was just different.”

Bad Boys featured Lawrence in the role of Detective Sergeant Marcus Miles Burnett, with Smith as Detective Sergeant Mike Lowrey. The buddy cop film, which also starred actress Tea Leoni, became a commercial success with a cult following despite generally lackluster reviews.

Eight years later, its sequel arrived with Bad Boys II, which received even lower reviews according to Rotten Tomatoes. However, it was still successful at the box office and well-received by moviegoers.

Bad Boys 4 was in ‘active development’ before Oscars

Fast forward to 2020, and the third installment in the series arrived, Bad Boys for Life. The film generated the best reviews from critics of the three in the franchise, holding a 76 percent score on the Tomatometer at Rotten Tomatoes.

The third Bad Boys film also generated over $426 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo’s figures.

With the success of that third film, it seemed a no-brainer that Bad Boys 4 would happen. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film had been in “active development,” and Will Smith had received 40 pages of script.

However, that, along with other Will Smith projects, came to a halt due to Smith’s incident at the 2022 Oscars when he slapped presenter Chris Rock on stage. The Netflix movie Fast and Loose was another project Smith had been attached to, but the company quietly moved away from it following his controversy.

Since then, Smith has kept himself out of the public eye and appears to be laying low as he resigned from the Academy and has a 10-year ban from attending Academy events.

Even so, Martin Lawrence is confident that he and his co-star will reunite for a Bad Boys 4 movie in the future, and quite possibly, it could be the blockbuster that announces Will Smith’s return to the big screen.

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