Sony Dates Taraji P. Henson's Hit-Woman Drama 'Proud Mary' + Moves 'Bad Boys for Life' a Second Time
Photo Credit: Taraji P Henson in "Smokin' Aces" (2006)

Sony Dates Taraji P. Henson's Hit-Woman Drama 'Proud Mary' + Moves 'Bad Boys for Life' a Second Time

Taraji P Henson in "Smokin' Aces" (2006)
Taraji P Henson in “Smokin’ Aces” (2006)

UPDATE: Iranian-Swedish film director, screenwriter, and cinematographer Babak Najafi has been tapped to direct Taraji P. Henson in “Proud Mary” for Screen Gems. He is most known for directing “London Has Fallen,” the 2016 sequel for Antoine Fuqua’s “Olympus Has Fallen.”

The initial post from yesterday follows below; at the time we didn’t know who the director of the film will be.

One new release date announcement, and one release date change to make note of on your calendars.

First, still basking in the glow that has been “Hidden Figures” (it’s grossed over $100M to date, and is nominated for multiple Oscars), Taraji P. Henson has lined up a new big-screen project. A potential Oscar nomination in her near future (she has been nominated once previously), Henson is attached to star in Screen Gems’ drama “Proud Mary,” playing a hit-woman named Mary, whose life is completely turned around when she saves a young boy who awakens a maternal instinct in her that she never knew she had. The boy also happens to be the son of a drug boss she’s hired to kill, who’s now an orphan (she succeeds) living on the street. She attempts to give herself and the boy a fresh start, but that proves to be a challenge.

Scripted by John Stewart Newman and Christian Swegal, a director for “Proud Mary” is yet to be attached, although production was slated to begin this April in Boston, with Paul Schiff and Tai Duncan producing.

Screen Gems has slotted “Proud Mary” for a January 26, 2018 theatrical opening, just in time for Black History Month – although it’s the same month that Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther” and John Boyega’s “Pacific Rim: Uprising” both open. A crowded competitive month.

Henson does have a working relationship with Screen Gems (the Sony Pictures subsidiary), starring in previous films released by the studio including “No Good Deed,” “Think Like a Man,” and its sequel, “Think Like a Man Too.”

Henson also has a Tyler Perry-produced dramedy titled “Acrimony” on her list of 2017 credits, although that doesn’t have an exact release date yet.

In Henson’s memoir “Around the Way Girl,” which was published last year, she claimed that she was paid “sofa change compared to what my co-stars received” for her Oscar-nominated performance in “Benjamin Button.” Her checks today are likely a lot more significant in number.

“Bad Boys”  (1995) Sony

And secondly, another Sony project, this time under its Columbia label, “Bad Boys for Life,” originally set for release on January 12, 2018, has been pushed back several months to November 9, 2018 instead. November 2018 is also a crowded month for big budget studio pictures. “Bad Boys for Life” will compete for ticket sales with a live-action “Mulan” movie from Disney’s Buena Vista subsidiary, an Untitled Fox / Marvel Film, an Untitled Paramount Event Film, “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” from Universal, and a sequel to the box office smash “Fantastic Beasts.”

Will Smith’s star power will certainly be tested.

It should be noted that this is the 2nd time that Sony has moved the film’s release date; it was initially set for a June 2, 2017 premiere, and was later pushed back to January 12, 2018, and has now been pushed back again, to November 9, 2018. Multiple date changes can sometimes suggest an uncertainty or lack of confidence in a film by the studio heads behind it; but the fact that “Bad Boys for Life” hasn’t even begun filming yet is likely the reason for the date movement. Certainly a June 2, 2017 release date would be impossible at this point.

A 3rd “Bad Boys” movie has been in the works for many years, as both stars – Will Smith and Martin Lawrence – juggled decisions on whether to return for another film in the franchise. They eventually agreed to make the film, with Joe Carnahan still attached to direct, but a production start date hasn’t been nailed down yet.

No other casting has been announced at this time. We should know more in the coming months (including plot), if Sony remains on track.

The last film in the franchise, “Bad Boys 2” (“Bad Boys II”) celebrates its 14th birthday this year – it was released on Jul 18, 2003.

The first film, released in 1995, was a sleeper hit, earning over $140 million worldwide (on a $19 million budget). The budget for the second film, released 8 years later, in 2003, ballooned six-fold to a whopping $130 million! That film grossed about $238 million globally. Not quite the profitable film that the first one was, but still a hit.

What would the budget for a third film be, and what kind of box office can be expected? Sony might opt to go relatively leaner on #3 with a sub-$100 million budget. As for box office, don’t expect superhero movie or “Fast & Furious”-like numbers .

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