The moment Will Smith stepped on stage at the Oscars to deliver “the slap heard around the world” to Chris Rock, it looked like he had made a mistake that was going to cost him dearly. Having been banned from attending Academy events for the next decade and been humiliated on social media, it looks like there could be good news for Smith in the fact that some studios may not have completely canceled his upcoming slate of roles. While it was reported that a number of projects were put on the back burner until the whole incident passed, Sony Pictures have now confirmed that one such project, Bad Boys 4, was never really postponed and is very much in development at the studio.
In a conversation with Deadline, Sony Pictures chairman Tony Rothman addressed speculation that Bad Boys 4 had “the brakes pumped” following the Oscars incident. As well as confirming the project is still going ahead, Rothman also shared his stance on the whole incident and how he believes that Will Smith’s apology and regret should mean everyone can now move on. He said:
“No. That was inaccurate. That movie’s been in development and still is. There weren’t any brakes to pump because the car wasn’t moving. 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.”
While there have been continued reports that Will Smith has had a number of projects quietly pushed back in scheduling or abandoned completely, it seems that this is not something everyone is doing, and that will be good news for Bad Boys fans. The third movie in the franchise pulled in good audience numbers when it dropped in 2020 just before the Covid pandemic hit, grossing over $426 million and inadvertently becoming the highest-grossing movie of the year thanks to the cinematic landscape being wiped out for most of the year.