×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Will Smith Calls ‘After Earth’ the ‘Most Painful Failure’ of His Career

Will Smith has opened up about “After Earth,” the 2013 sci-fi film in which his son Jaden Smith also starred, calling it the “most painful failure” of his career.

The comment, in an interview with Esquire, came after the reporter referenced a “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” quote from Smith’s TV aunt, who advised his character on an episode, “Don’t let success go to your head and failure go to your heart.”

“That was a valuable lesson for me a few years ago with ‘After Earth,'” Smith said. “That was the most painful failure in my career.”

The Sony/Columbia pic, directed by M. Night Shyamalan, made $27 million on opening weekend and grossed a global $243 million on a reported production budget of $130 million. In comparison, in 2008, “Hancock,” the Smith-starring fantasy drama from Sony/Columbia, raked in $624 million globally and made $62 million on opening weekend. His rom-com “Hitch” made $368 globally and $43 million on opening weekend.

Smith said “Wild Wild West,” a pic that also opened with $27 million, was still a better experience.

“‘Wild Wild West’ was less painful than ‘After Earth because my son was involved in ‘After Earth,’ and I led him into it. That was excruciating,” the 46-year-old said. Then he contemplated the importance of having films that topped box office charts.

“I never would have looked at myself in that way. I was a guy who, when I was 15, my girlfriend cheated on me, and I decided that if I was number one, no woman would ever cheat on me. All I have to do is make sure that no one’s ever better than me, and I’ll have the love that my heart yearns for. And I never released that and moved into a mature way of looking at the world and my artistry and love until the failure of ‘After Earth,’ when I had to accept that it’s not a good source of creation.”

Smith said when he received box office numbers the following Monday, he was “devastated for about 24 minutes,” and shortly after, he received a call that his father had cancer. “That put it in perspective — viciously.”

After a 90-minute treadmill session immediately following the news, Smith had an epiphany.

“That Monday started the new phase of my life, a new concept: Only love is going to fill that hole,” Smith said. “You can’t win enough, you can’t have enough money, you can’t succeed enough. There is not enough. The only thing that will ever satiate that existential thirst is love. And I just remember that day I made the shift from wanting to be a winner to wanting to have the most powerful, deep and beautiful relationships I could possibly have.”

More Film

  • Critics Week

    Cannes Critics’ Week Unveils Its Lineup

    Lorcan Finnegan’s science-fiction thriller “Vivarium” with Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots, Jérémy Clapin’s fantasy-filled animated feature “I Lost My Body,” and Hlynur Pálmason’s Icelandic drama “A White, White Day” are among the 11 films set to compete at Critics’ Week, the section dedicated to first and second films that runs parallel with the Cannes Film [...]

  • China Box Office: 'Wonder Park' Fails

    China Box Office: 'Wonder Park' Fails to Open While 'P Storm' Rages On

    Even on one of the quietest weekends of the year, new-release U.S. animated feature “Wonder Park” did not inspire Chinese audiences as much as Hong Kong and Indian movies already in their third weekend in theaters. Starring the voice talents of Matthew Broderick, Jennifer Garner, Mila Kunis, and Ken Jeong, among many others, the film [...]

  • David Picker dead

    David Picker, Studio Chief Who Acquired James Bond Novels for UA, Dies at 87

    David Picker, who headed United Artists, Paramount and Columbia’s motion picture divisions and was known for forging relationships with groundbreaking filmmakers and material, died Saturday in New York. He was 87 and had been suffering from colon cancer. MGM tweeted, “We are saddened to hear that a member of the United Artists family has passed [...]

  • Abigail Disney on Bob Iger

    Abigail Disney Calls Bob Iger's $65 Million Compensation 'Insane'

    Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger’s total compensation for Disney’s fiscal 2018 was a whopping $65.6 million. Abigail Disney, the granddaughter of Disney co-founder Roy Disney, calls that sum “insane.”  While speaking at the Fast Company Impact Council, the filmmaker and philanthropist insisted that this level of corporate payout has a “corrosive effect on society.” Disney took [...]

  • 'Curse of La Llorona' Tops International

    'Curse of La Llorona' Tops International Box Office With $30 Million

    Warner Bros. and New Line’s “The Curse of La Llorona” led the way at the international box office, summoning $30 million when it opened in 71 foreign markets. The supernatural thriller collected $26.5 million in North America for a global start of $56.5 million. “La Llorona,” based on the Mexican folklore about the Weeping Woman, [...]

  • Box Office: 'Curse of La Llorona'

    Box Office: 'Curse of La Llorona' Wins Worst Easter Weekend in Over a Decade

    Warner Bros. and New Line’s “The Curse of La Llorona” ascended to the top of domestic box office charts, conjuring $26.5 million when it opened in 3,372 North American theaters. “La Llorona” is the latest horror movie to outperform expectations, further cementing the genre as one of the most reliable box office draws. Even so, [...]

  • FX's 'Snowfall' Panel TCA Winter Press

    John Singleton Hospitalized After Suffering Stroke

    UPDATED with statements from John Singleton’s family and FX Networks John Singleton, the Oscar nominated director and writer of “Boyz N’ the Hood,” has suffered a stroke. Sources confirm to Variety that Singleton checked himself into the hospital earlier this week after experiencing pain in his leg. The stroke has been characterized by doctors as [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content