After Earth 'is worst movie of 2013': Is Will Smith's reign over the summer box office over?
With rotten reviews for father-son sci-fi adventure, After Earth, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air's decades-long run of good luck seems to be over
Tuesday 04 June 2013
It used to be that if a summer film starred Will Smith, it was a guaranteed moneymaker: First place at the box office, maybe a franchise in the making.
But the 44-year-old actor's latest film opened with a thud. After Earth, a futuristic action-adventure co-starring Smith's 14-year-old son, Jaden, debuted in third place, collecting a disappointing $27.5 million over the weekend.
"It's tough because we're very proud of the film," said Sony's president of worldwide distribution, Rory Bruer.
Box-office analysts had predicted the sci-fi tale that cost an estimated $130 million to make would open just behind the international street-racing romp Fast & Furious 6,which held onto the top spot with $35.2 million after its huge debut last week. Instead, second place went to Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment's Now You See Me, which exceeded expectations with $29.25 million. The magic-heist thriller's ensemble cast includes Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Woody Harrelson and Mark Ruffalo.
"When you're a Tom Cruise or Will Smith, there are huge expectations placed on a movie that are not placed on an ensemble," said Paul Dergarabedian of box-office tracker Hollywood.com. "It just shows you how competitive the summer marketplace is and star power isn't necessarily what gets you there."
Based on a story by Smith, After Earth follows a father and son stranded on an abandoned Earth after a crash landing. Dad is injured, so the son must overcome his fear and brave the planet's dangerous creatures and conditions to get help.
The film was deemed "rotten" by review aggregator RottenTomatoes.com, with only 12 percent of critics offering praise.
"Quite simply, this is one of the worst films of 2013," Richard Roeper wrote in the Chicago Sun-Times.
The poor reception by critics and fans also hurts director M. Night Shyamalan, whose profile has been dinged by the failure of 2006's Lady in the Water and poor reviews for his two most recent films. Sony spokesman Jeff Blake called the director "a world-class filmmaker" in a recent statement, but Shyamalan was notably absent from After Earth marketing and promotions.
"Shyamalan is clearly a director-for-hire here," Scott Foundas wrote in Variety, "his disinterest palpable from first frame to last."
Sony's president of distribution said the studio still has high hopes for the film internationally as it expands to 60 more countries Friday. Said Bruer: "We're still feeling confident that as the film plays out throughout the world, we're going to be absolutely fine."
Meanwhile, Fast & Furious 6 continues to speed past its competitors. With settings around the globe and an international cast led by Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson, along with the international language of fast cars, the film has broad appeal for viewers young and old.
"It's just a wild and fun ride at the movie theater, and that's what people want when they go to the movies in the summer," Dergarabedian said.
Fast could enjoy a third week on top as the newest action offering among Friday's openers The Internship and The Purge.
Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
‘Remember the attackers are a cold-blooded, crazy minority’, says Blek le Rat
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
- 5 Men behaving badly: Urinating while standing, 'manspreading' and the gendering of selfishness
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors: 'I think as far as coloured actors go it gets really difficult in the UK'
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Photographer Matt Lankes' portraits of the cast of Boyhood influenced the film's storyline
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners