Martin Lawrence has every intention to film the fourth installment in the Bad Boys franchise with Will Smith

“We got one more at least,” Lawrence said in an interview with Ebony. From a box office perspective, the duo had every reason to move forward with a follow-up to 2020’s Bad Boys for Life, which earned $426 million worldwide, more than the first two films combined. However, Smith’s career appears to have hit something of an impasse following the Oscars slap earlier this year. 

Smith’s third National Geographic series Pole to Pole was temporarily shelved, while the sequel to the Netflix film Bright was axed due to a decision “unrelated to the incident.” Variety reported Apple pushed the release of Emancipation to 2023, even though the film seemed to be primed for film festivals in the coming months, and an Oscar bid next year. 

Sony chairman Tom Rothman called rumors claiming the studio was halting production on Bad Boys 4 over the Oscars slap “inaccurate.” 

“That movie’s been in development and still is. There weren’t any brakes to pump because the car wasn’t moving,” Rothman previously told Deadline. “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,” he continued. “I believe his apology and regret is genuine, and I believe in forgiveness and redemption.”