Will Smith bounces back with blockbuster Bad Boys: Ride or Die

Bad Boys: Ride or Die, the fourth instalment in the Will Smith-Martin Lawrence action comedy series, is officially a hit.

The movie opened with an estimated $56 million (£44 million) in cinemas over the weekend.

The figures handed Hollywood a much-needed hit, and Smith his biggest success since he slapped Chris Rock at the Academy Awards.

Expectations were all over the map for Ride or Die, given the disappointing movie-going market thus far this season and the controversy surrounding Smith.

Ride or Die, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, is his first real test since his 2022 slap earned him a 10-year Oscar ban.

In the film, which comes 29 years after the original, Smith and Lawrence reprise their roles as Miami detectives. The plot revolves around them uncovering a scheme to frame their late police captain, played by Joe Pantoliano.

In one of the movie's most notable scenes, Lawrence slaps Smith and calls him a "bad boy".

Recently, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga and The Fall Guy both struggled to find traction with moviegoers despite good reviews. Ride or Die is being seen as a critical win for the movie business.

"The fact that a movie over-performed is the best possible news," said Paul Dergarabedian from media analyst company Comscore.

"This ignites the spark that the industry has been waiting for."