There’s no denying that Will Smith is still one of the biggest movie stars on the planet, but his aura has definitely taken a hit over the last few years. While he’s still starring in blockbusters like Suicide Squad, Aladdin and Bad Boys For Life, those are all franchise projects that have name recognition and a built-in audience, and the presence of his name alone is no longer enough to sell a film to the masses like it used to.
A case in point is recent sci-fi blockbuster Gemini Man, which saw the A-list star team with an Academy Award winning director in Ang Lee for a high-concept action thriller that possessed all of the ingredients to be a success. It took a long time for all the pieces to fall into place though, and to give you an idea of how long Gemini Man spent stuck in development hell, it was initially pitched with Clint Eastwood in the lead role because he was still capable of starring in action movies at the time, and he turns 90 years old next month.
Watching Will Smith playing a grizzled assassin getting hunted down by a younger version of himself is one hell of a selling point for a movie, but the effects frequently veer into uncanny valley territory whenever the fresh-faced Smith opens his mouth or has to emote, and Lee seemed more interested in playing with new technology than crafting any sort of interesting or exciting narrative.
The reviews weren’t too kind, and Gemini Man ended up disappointing at the box office, and now that the dust has settled, it’s been revealed that the movie lost over $110 million for Paramount after failing to even crack $175 million globally on a production budget of $138 million. Will Smith has endured more flops than ever over the last decade, but given all the hype, talent and cutting-edge tech involved in Gemini Man, there’s no real reason why it should’ve turned out to be such a misfire.