Will Smith Says His ‘Most Painful Failure’ Was A Sci-Fi Flop

To say that Will Smith has had a successful movie career so far would be a major understatement.

The 46-year-old Oscar-nominated actor started out in 1990 as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air without any prior experience as an actor. However, nearly two decades have passed since the series finale of that popular show, and Will Smith has evolved into an A-list movie actor and household name.

All actors know that not every movie is going to be a hit; box-office flops are expected. However, in a recent interview with Esquire magazine, Will Smith identified one particular box-office flop as the “most painful failure” of his career — the 2013 sci-fi film After Earth.

Smith actually compared that box-office flop to another one of his biggest regrets — the 1999 film Wild Wild West, starring Sir Kenneth Branagh and Kevin Kline.

However, the reason why the failure of After Earth was even more painful actually had nothing to do with Will at all. According to Daily News, Smith says that the experience was “excruciating” since his youngest son, Jaden, was also involved in that picture alongside him.

After Earth was basically led by Will and Jaden Smith for the majority of the movie, especially after they became stranded on a post-apocalyptic version of Earth. The M. Night Shyamalan-directed film generated over $60 million.

However, its estimated production budget was $130 million. The fact that After Earth earned three Razzie awards, including Worst Screen Combo, may have added insult to injury.

Even though that cloud appeared very dark for fans and critics alike, Will Smith was apparently able to find the silver lining of that dark cloud by learning a valuable lesson from it.

“What I learned from that failure is how you win. I got reinvigorated after the failure of ‘After Earth.’ I stopped working for a year and a half. I had to dive into why it was so important for me to have No. 1 movies.”

After Earth dealt a major blow in Will Smith’s professional life. However, the timing of the box-office failure did not work very well with his personal life either.

“After ‘Earth‘ comes out, I get the box office numbers on Monday and I was devastated for about 24 minutes, and then my phone rang and I found out my father had cancer. That put it in perspective — viciously.”

Recently, Will Smith has been keeping himself busy traveling to promote his new film, Focus, starring Margot Robbie. Even if Focus does not become the No. 1 box-office movie in its opening weekend, chances are that it will not bomb anywhere near as badly as After Earth.

[Image Credit: Anthony Harvey/Getty Images]