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‘Bad Boys 4’ Still in Development Despite ‘Unfortunate’ Will Smith Slap, Says Sony Chairman

While other Smith projects were halted after the Oscars, Sony chairman Tom Rothman said "Bad Boys 4" is still on track.

"Bad Boys for Life"

“Bad Boys for Life”

Kyle Kaplan; © 2019 CTMG, Inc.

Sony chairman Tom Rothman gave an update on “Bad Boys 4,” saying despite previous rumors, the film is still slated to star Will Smith and Martin Lawrence and remains in development. The fourth film was announced in 2020 following the success of the third installment, “Bad Boys for Life,” the first movie in the franchise sans director Michael Bay. (“Bad Boys” 3 was directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah.)

Yet reports in April 2022 hinted that “Bad Boys 4” may have been on hold following Smith attacking Chris Rock at the Oscars. Smith reportedly received 40 pages of a “Bad Boys 4” script ahead of the Oscars. Sony chairman Rothman refuted any claims that Smith’s involvement in the sequel was put on hold.

“No. That was inaccurate,” Rothman told Deadline. “That movie’s been in development and still is. There weren’t any brakes to pump because the car wasn’t moving.”

As for Smith’s viral Oscars outburst, Rothman said, “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.”

A series of Smith-led projects was halted after the now-infamous slap, including the Netflix action film “Fast and Loose” and “Bright 2.” AppleTV+ film “Emancipation” also pushed its release date back to provide more of a buffer from the Academy Awards drama.

Best Actor winner Smith is banned from attending the Academy Awards for the next decade as part of his disciplinary proceedings.

Original “Bad Boys” director Bay previously weighed in on the controversy, saying that Smith is “not that guy.” Bay also slammed Sony for underestimating the “Bad Boys” franchise that started in 1995 since the film had two Black leads.

“Sony didn’t believe in the movie, because two Black actors don’t sell overseas. They had no faith in it,” Bay explained earlier this year. “‘Bad Boys’ literally changed the game on Black actors. It’s the first movie that really traveled overseas.”

“Bay Boys” premiered in April 1995 and grossed $141 million worldwide. The film spurred two sequels, with “Bad Boys II” earning $273 million in 2003 and “Bad Boys for Life” grossing $426 million after releasing in January 2020.

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