For a long time, Will Smith was without question the biggest and most bankable star in Hollywood. Not only is he the only actor to have starred in eight movies in a row that all opened at number one and earned over $100 million at the domestic box office, but he also headlined eleven consecutive hits that hauled in at least $150 million overseas.
Of course, nobody is immune from a bomb or two, with Smith having also starred in his fair share thanks to the likes of Wild Wild West, Winter’s Tale and Concussion, but the only one he’s publicly admitted his regret over was M. Night Shyamalan’s After Earth. A crushingly tedious exercise in nepotism, the actor received the sole story credit of his cinematic career for the futuristic sci-fi that saw him play second fiddle to son Jaden, with Smith Sr.’s natural charisma suppressed in a dour turn that sees him sitting in a chair for the majority of his screen time.
It may have earned $243 million globally, but the hefty budget and huge marketing costs saw it fail to turn a profit, while critics savaged the latest misfire from Shyamalan, and it holds a dire 11% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Make no mistake, it’s a terrible movie regardless of whether it’s full of subliminal Scientology messaging or not, and in the years since, Will Smith has admitted that he views it as a personal failure and a source of frustration that he roped his son into the misguided endeavor as well.
After Earth was designed with the intention of launching a multimedia franchise that covered movie sequels, animated shows, short films, video games, theme park attractions, comic books and more, but thankfully it never came to that.