For the average Hollywood actor, a $26.5 million opening weekend box office take for a movie they're starring in, would probably feel like a gift. But Will Smith isn't the average Hollywood actor. He's an international superstar who's seemingly *transcended* race, with appeal to almost every circle.
So a $26.5 million opening weekend for him is considered a disappointment in the industry. The studio, Sony, was expecting somewhere between high $30s to low $40s, in millions.
His last starring effort, Men in Black 3, opened with a $54,592,779 weekend.
Before that, Seven Pounds opened with $14,851,136.
I am Legend, $77,211,321.
The Pursuit of Happyness, $26,541,709.
I, Robot, $52,179,887.
So his last 7 starring films, prior to After Earth, opened to about $45 million on average. Although, in all fairness, we could ask whether After Earth was really a Will Smith movie, or more of a Jaden Smith movie. But I guess either way, it's a Smith movie, and Will's name and face were pivotal in how it was marketed and sold to audiences.
Although some have argued that, even though the studio (Sony) erased him from the film's marketing campaign, word still eventually got around that M. Night Shyamalan was the film's director. And he isn't exactly the most loved Hollywood filmmaker working right now. According to Deadline, Will practically insisted on Shyamalan to helm the film. It makes one wonder why he did that, especially when this isn't quite Shyamalan's forte. The last time he attempted a sci-fi fantasy adventure film, it was with The Last Airbender, which was ripped by critics and audiences.
And so now, some are starting to wonder if Will's box office appeal may be beginning to fade a little. I say, as others have said on this blog before, his next few choices are going to be really crucial in answering the question on whether his appeal might be at the beginning of a decline. Several critical and commercial duds in a row could spell danger. Just ask the director of After Earth, Shyamalan.
And with Will recently voicing his desire to take on more "dangerous" edgier roles, who knows what kind of on-screen Will Smith we'll see next (see Tambay's post on that HERE).
But don't cry for Will. He's done and continues to do very well financially, as one of the highest paid actors in the business, and one of the few whose payment deal structures include collecting a portion on both the front and the back-end. Plus, he's still immensely popular. He's still able to work his charm on just about any crowd. He'll be just fine.
But I'm really looking forward to what he chooses to do next. I think even he is aware of all the chatter about him that's happening currently, and will be choosy.
In the below interview with Jimmy Kimmel this week, discussing AE's opening weekend disappointment, Will shares his reaction to the news, calling it a tragic situation. The conversation about the film starts around 2:35 in. But I think the whole clip is funny. Love him or hate him, he handles himself well, and he obviously hasn't lost his confidence in himself: