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In a new interview with Deadline, Sony Chairman Tom Rothman has denied the rumor that the studio is pausing production on Bad Boys 4 in light of Will Smith’s Oscars slap.

“No. That was inaccurate,” Rothman said. “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.”

Rothman’s comments come just a week after CinemaBlend’s Sean O’Connell asked Jerry Bruckheimer, who produced the first three films in the Bad Boys franchise, about what’s happening with the upcoming fourth installment.

“I can’t answer that question other than to (say), people who are higher up have to make that decision,” Bruckheimer stated.

In the two months since the slap heard around the world, a few Smith-starring projects have been put on the back burner. Back in April, the Hollywood Reporter announced that Netflix had pumped the breaks on Smith’s forthcoming feature film, Fast and Loose. In addition, Apple TV+’s Smith-starring Emancipation has been delayed until 2023 in light of the slap. 

Bad Boys 4 will serve as the latest edition in the buddy cop franchise, following 1995’s Bad Boys, 2003’s Bad Boys II, and 2020’s Bad Boys For Life. To date, the franchise has made more than $700 million worldwide at the box office, with the most recent offering taking home $436 million prior to the pandemic.

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