The Will Smith action film Gemini Man, in which the Fresh Prince does battle with a younger clone of himself across several continents, is looking at a staggering loss of at least $75 million. In addition to being the worst-reviewed movie of Oscar-winning director Ang Lee’s career, the movie struggled with heavy competition from high profile franchise films Joker and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.
Gemini Man is the latest in a string of commercial disappointments for Smith, who was once a worldwide sure thing at the box office. With the notable exceptions of Aladdin and Suicide Squad – ensemble franchise pictures from Disney and DC, two of the biggest entertainment brands in the world – many of Smith’s recent films have dramatically underperformed, including another high-profile bomb in 2013’s After Earth.
Originally written in the 90s with Clint Eastwood in mind for the lead role, Gemini Man has changed studios, directors, and stars several times over the past 20 years. (At one point, Nicolas Cage was attached, and now all I want in this world is to see Nicolas Cage’s Gemini Man.) The film’s much-touted de-aging effects (which sound great in theory but become something of a weirdly floaty uncanny valley when plastered into complicated action sequences) presumably added a few zeros to its astounding $140 million budget. Coupled with an additional marketing spend of approximately $100 million, Gemini Man’s astronomical failure is leaving its four (!) production and distribution companies – Paramount, Skydance, Fosun, and Alibaba – with multi-million dollar black eyes. The one bright side is that nobody has to eat that entire $75 million sandwich alone.