Will Smith is widely recognized as a highly talented and versatile actor in Hollywood. He has delivered numerous successful hits, including Men in Black, and Independence Day, which proved him the most bankable actor in the industry.
However, like all the actors, Smith also has a fair share of disappointments. Yet, over time, some of these duds found their groove and ultimately gained recognition. Here, let’s peep into some of his blockbuster box office bombs that should have been a hit.
1. Gemini Man
Gemini Man, the 2019 movie by Will Smith, had a tough time at the box office. Directed by Oscar-winner Ang Lee, the movie had Will Smith as a skilled hitman who decided to retire from his profession. However, he soon found himself under the threat of a mysterious and relentless assassin, which led him to realize the assassin was his younger clone.
The film has been shot on a substantially high budget due to the extensive use of technology. Despite its impressive visual effects and innovative concept, the movie couldn’t resonate with the audience and failed to generate significant buzz, resulting in a mixed 26% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Regardless of the challenges, Gemini Man has its niche audience that appreciates its technical achievements and action sequences. Later, the movie was also nominated for Best Motion Capture Performance by the Austin Film Critics Association.
2. The Legend of Bagger Vance
Based on the novel by Steven Pressfield and directed by Robert Redford, The Legend of Bagger Vance should have been a monster success. Released in 2000, with Redford behind the camera, the film stars Smith and Matt Damon and is set against the backdrop of golf.
Despite the impressive cast and the director’s reputation, the film underperformed in theaters, making only $40 million worldwide, not even half of its budget. Some have revisited the flick and found value in its storytelling, themes of redemption, and the performances of the cast.
This biopic of boxing legend Muhammad Ali gave Will Smith his first Oscar nomination but ultimately landed him the third consecutive box office bomb in a row, following Wild Wild West and The Legend of Bagger Vance.
Smith’s legendary Muhammad Ali is marked by his distinguishing role in his career, which depicted the most important decade in the boxer’s life: his heavy weight capacity, professional upheavals, embracing Islam, and the infamous Rumble in the Jungle.
Due to the combination of long-running and competition with blockbusters like Lord of the Rings, the film was unable to recoup the production cost, which contributed to his lackluster fate.
4. Where the Day Takes You
The 1992 drama film Where the Day Takes You by Marc Rocco was an ambitious endeavor that explored the harsh realities of life on the streets for a group of homeless youth in Los Angeles.
Despite its humble intention, the movie struggled to find footing at the box office after eating only $390,152 against a budget of an estimated $3 million. The movie, which features Will Smith in his early roles, couldn’t save it from its lackluster fate.
Over time, the film slowly gained acceptance as the audience found value in the storytelling and depth of the subject matter; moreover, the performance of the cast was highly recognized, which earned the film an underrated value.
5. After Earth
Will Smith describes his 2013 blockbuster science fiction After Earth as his “most personal failure.” There are different factors that essentially turn a movie into a box office dud. Regardless of its technical aspect or cast, competition plays a major role in success.
Hence, the critically acclaimed flick was fried under the summer sun of big-budget blockbusters like Iron Man 3 and Star Trek which couldn’t even make half of its $130 million budget.
With its unique premise and impressive visual effects, the movie struggled to stand out among the crowded summer lineups. Starring both Will Smith and his son, Jaden Smith, the film is set in the distant future and revolves around a space voyage gone awry which depicts a father-son duo struggling to survive the post-apocalyptic earth.
The tone of the movie was highly subjective, while it is not uncommon for a movie to gain a dedicated fan following over time, even though it initially faced a lackluster reception. Similarly, for some, After Earth is a good and thought-provoking film.
6. Enemy of the State
The political thriller follows the story of a Washington, D.C., lawyer, played by Will Smith, who becomes a target of a corrupted government when he receives highly secret information. Since then, the film has received positive reviews.
Despite its engaging storytelling and performances, the film struggled in theaters. Over the years, Enemy of the State started to gain recognition and fans have come to appreciate its portrayal of government, privacy concerns, and the themes that are increasingly prevalent in contemporary society.