Martin Lawrence and Will Smith started off CinemaCon by enthusiastically discussing their return to the “Bad Boys” franchise.
“We’re hype, we’re excited,” Smith told the audience of movie theater owners. He apologized, albeit jokingly, for not being able to attend the annual convention in Las Vegas due to being four weeks into filming the fourth installment of the franchise.
“We’re not sorry we couldn’t be there,” Martin Lawrence added, teasingly scolding Smith, and pointing out that they were being paid to be at CinemaCon.
In “Bad Boys 4,” Smith and Lawrence will be joined by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, who directed the successful 2020 film “Bad Boys for Life.” The rest of the ensemble will include returning cast members Paola Núnez, Vanessa Hudgens, and Alexander Ludwig, as well as Eric Dane from “Euphoria.” The screenplay was written by Chris Bremner.
For Smith, reprising his role in “Bad Boys” is an opportunity to move past the controversy surrounding the Oscars slap incident and focus on one of his beloved characters. Smith’s most recent film, “Emancipation,” a drama about a runaway slave, was overshadowed by the controversy surrounding his altercation with Chris Rock.
The “Bad Boys” series follows the adventures of Miami cops Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett, known for their quick wit and penchant for causing collateral damage while chasing down criminals.
CinemaCon is taking place as the movie industry is gradually recovering from the impact of the pandemic, with successful releases such as “Avatar: The Way of Water” and “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.” CinemaCon’s managing director, Mitch Neuhauser, addressed the audience to the tune of Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing.”
“With all due respect to Elton, it’s not that I’m still standing… It’s that we’re still standing,” Neuhauser said, receiving enthusiastic applause. He expressed relief at being back in Las Vegas after the challenges of the past year and expressed optimism that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic was behind us.
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