EXCLUSIVE: The mantra behind Sony Pictures’ recent restructure that brings in Michael De Luca as production co-president was to make higher quality tent poles. That means spending money on hot writers. I’m told the studio is in early talks with David Guggenheim to script Bad Boys 3, which the studio hopes will bring back Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as fast-talking undercover cops who solve crimes with spectacular action, gunplay, and harsh language. Guggenheim scripted Safe House, the Denzel Washington-Ryan Reynolds action thriller.
Bad Boys II was released a decade ago, and the sequel grossed $273 million on a $160 million budget. Michael Bay directed the first two, but he doesn’t seem to be involved, at least at this point. Jerry Bruckheimer is producing the pic. Sony is trying to do this with the original cast, which makes it different from the other big franchise reboots in the works, Men In Black and Ghostbusters. Those are being rebooted. With Ghostbusters, that has a lot to do with Bill Murray being unwilling to reprise his signature role. With Men In Black, the deal making on that film got to be prohibitively expensive with all the talent and producer back ends, to the point it was becoming impossible for the studio to make money.
Since making a splash with Safe House, Guggenheim has been working steadily on action thrillers that include a Safe House sequel, as well as the Scott Free-produced Narco Sub for Doug Liman to direct, the McG-directed Puzzle Palace, and Weaponized, an adaptation of the novel Guggenheim wrote with Nicholas Mennuti. He just worked for Sony Pictures, scripting the new draft of Uncharted/Drake’s Fortune. Guggenheim is repped by Paradigm and Madhouse Entertainment.