Will Smith's 'Bad Boys for Life' three-peats at the box office for Super Bowl weekend

Jonathan Landrum Jr.
The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES – "Bad Boys for Life" went for a three-peat at the box office on Super Bowl weekend. 

The sequel starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence brought in $17.6 million to claim the No. 1 spot for the third straight week. The studio said the third installment became the highest-grossing film in the franchise with $148.1 million to date, eclipsing "Bad Boys II."

The earning for "Bad Boys" is the best box office turnout compared to other No. 1 titles ("Glass," "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" and "Split") during the NFL championship weekend over the past four years. 

Box office numbers are typically lower during football's championship weekend, says Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore. But he notes that Hollywood is banking on Super Bowl commercials of films to help boost numbers moving forward.

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"It's a longer-term benefit for Hollywood to have trailers presented to a massive worldwide audience," Dergarabedian says. "Studios bet big during the telecast by dropping trailers. They are hoping to build media buzz and get people talking."

The World War I tale "1917" notched second with $9.7 million ($119.2 million to date) as the film continues to build momentum as an Oscars contender. It's an impressive feat for the Sam Mendes-directed war movie after going from 11 screens in its first week to nearly 4,000.

"1917" has been holding on strong since receiving 10 Oscar nominations including best picture.

Dergarabedian calls the war film's surge a "dream scenario."

"It's a winner all day long," he says. "It's had this picture-perfect platform release on its road to the Oscar telecast."

It was a bumpy start for newcomers "Gretel & Hansel" and "The Rhythm Section," the latter of which barely cracked the top 10.

After "Dolittle" placed third with $7.7 million, the reimagined ancient fairy tale "Gretel & Hansel" opened at No. 4 with $6.1 million but received mixed reviews, including a C-minus on CinemaScore.

"The Rhythm Section," an action drama starring Blake Lively, pulled in $2.8 million.

"It does get increasingly difficult for films that don't overperform on Super Bowl weekend to build any head of steam going forward," Dergarabedian says. "Particularly if they don't have good reviews." 

Rounding out the rest of the top five: Guy Ritchie's crime comedy "The Gentlemen," with an A-list cast led by Matthew McConaughey, slid to fifth place in its second weekend with $6 million.

Final numbers are expected Monday.

Contributing: Kim Willis, USA TODAY