Will Smith has been a big draw in theaters, ever since he made the move to the big screen from his Fresh Prince of Bel-Air days, but his days of blockbusters may be behind him now. At least that’s what many are thinking, following the box office results of his latest film, Focus.
In fairness, Focus did bring in $19 million, and that would seem like a good chunk of change to most people, but it is far, far below par for Will Smith, reports Huffington Post. For comparison, I Am Legend brought in over $256 million dollars and I, Robot grossed just shy of $145 million. That $19 million isn’t looking so impressive for Mr. Smith anymore, is it?
Another recent flop for Will was his sci-fi epic After Earth, which only grossed $27 million. Making this low return on investment even more painful for studio execs was the fact that it had cost them $130 million to produce the futuristic film.
It may be said that even Smith himself sees the beginning of the end of his stellar career.
“It is a huge relief for me to not care whether or not Focus is No. 1 or No. 10 at the box office… I’ve already gained everything I could have possibly hoped for by meeting the people and the creation of what we did together.”
Smith’s losses at the box office with After Earth probably seemed like a one-time fluke at the time, and it’s not surprising that Will was able to sign on for more high-profile projects meant to draw on his big name to attract moviegoers. The Daily Beast reports that, in addition to Focus, Smith has also been signed to star in the football drama Concussion and in the upcoming DC comic-based film, Suicide Squad.
Will Smith’s failure to draw the big crowds may prove to be especially problematic for Suicide Squad. Studio executives are depending on Smith’s star power to bring in the big numbers even more than usual, because the film’s other stars, Jai Courtney, Joel Kinnaman, and Jared Leto, have yet to prove themselves with their own big box office returns.
There are some, such as this L.A. Times writer, who believe the fault may not lie with Will Smith himself, but with the latest trend in Hollywood and with moviegoers that prefer films that feature ensemble casts. The days of expecting one star to draw those nine digit returns may be long over and, if that is the case, Mr. Smith may find himself in a position to refresh and revitalize his image. Will may be able to do just that with Suicide Squad, a film that does feature an ensemble cast, while also allowing him to explore the role of villain, as opposed to the heroic savior Smith almost always plays. Suicide Squad may be Will Smith’s ticket back to those big box office returns, or, if it fails, it may be the beginning of the end for the not-so-Fresh-Prince.
For a more in depth look at Smith’s latest film, take a look at this review of Focus on Inquisitr.