With Michael Bay off making giant robot movies, Will Smith solidifying himself as one of the most bankable movie stars on Earth, and Martin Lawrence, well… still acting, it would be understandable if there was never a third installment in the Bad Boys series. However, by way of The Hollywood Reporter, comes news that not only has Columbia started to develop a Bad Boys 3 but has already signed a screenwriter to it.

Columbia has hired Peter Craig to write the Bad Boys 3 script – Craig doesn’t have any completed screenplays out there yet (he has three in development, including Cowboy Bebop), but according to Wikipedia he’s a published author of “darkly comic novels of imploding father-son relationships.” The hope is to have a script which will reunite director Michael Bay, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, and stars, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence.

However, at this stage, even with a writer on-board, the project is still in the early stages and no deal has been made with any of the four main players from the first two to come back for another. Pretty much with all of them (except maybe Lawrence), there comes an expensive price tag attached. As stated, Smith is about the only true bankable movie star in the business (his last 8 movies have all surpassed the $100 million mark), and by now Bay is used to getting huge paychecks and collecting percentages of money from toy merchandising.

However, if you look at the money the first two movies made, I don’t think the studio should be that worried: The first one cost $19 million to make, and made over $140 million at the worldwide box office; the second one’s budget ballooned to a whopping $130 million (I guess the boys wanted bigger toys to play with), but still ending up making over $270 million worldwide. I’m sure if Bay were to come back he’d want a similarly high budget to play with (after all, he’s used to those giant fighting robots that cost a small country’s wealth to put on screen).

Big question, though: Is there still enough interest in Bad Boys to make a third installment worth the while? I’d actually guess that yeah, there probably is. With two (really) popular films to play off of, and the audience-drawing Smith as one of the leads (that’s presuming he comes back), I don’t think a Bad Boys 3 would have much trouble filling the seats.

As stated, although no agreements or deals have been made by Bay, Smith, Lawrence or Bruckheimer, all of them have expressed past interest in doing another Bad Boys. One quote from Bruckheimer said that towards the end of the shoot for the second film, both Smith and Lawrence were already ready to sign up for another one because they were having so much fun. Another quote from Smith at the 2008 MTV Movie Awards said that he’s got an idea for a story for the third movie, but that Bay is now, “too expensive… way too expensive.”

Have you looked in the mirror, lately, Mr. Smith?!…

I enjoyed the first two Bad Boys for what they were. They have some great action sequences (the one on the freeway in the second one is exhilarating), and Smith and Lawrence are fun to watch together. But I never held them in that high regard, and IMO are pretty throwaway (I say they could be classified as guilty pleasures) and I don’t really find myself wanting to revisit them. However, I’d give a third one a shot, if only for another dose of car chases and explosions with Smith and Lawrence leading – or rather, chasing after – the chaos once more.

What do you think about a Bad Boys 3? Are you all for it or is your reaction, “Aw, hell naw!”?

Sources: THR (thanks to /Film)