'After Earth' Is Will Smith's Biggest Summer Bust

The Atlantic Wire
'After Earth' Is Will Smith's Biggest Summer Bust
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'After Earth' Is Will Smith's Biggest Summer Bust

Welcome to the Box Office Report, where dinosaurs are always welcome in our summer movies, but Jaden Smith is not. 

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1. Fast & Furious 6 (Universal): $34.5 million in 3,686 theaters [Week 2]

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Another week of dominance for Vin Diesel's Dom and co. Are you surprised? No, good. If you were, Dom would punch you in your lilly-livered face. One of the most fascinating things about Fast 6 is how it manages to keep Paul Walker somewhat relevant. And, as someone who recently watched She's All That and The Skulls, that's something that probably should not have happened. 

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2. Now You See Me (Lionsgate): $28 million in 2,925 theaters

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3. After Earth (Sony): $27 millions in 3,401 theaters

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This was the weekend's biggest box office news. Now You See Me beating After Earth is being labeled "one of the most surprising box office upsets in recent memory," by The Hollywood Reporter. And they're probably right! Will Smith has been one of the most successful and consistent box office performers over the last two decade. As THR points out, the last Smith movie to miss the number 1 box office spot was Made in America in 1992. But After Earth was such a huge departure from Smith's usual offerings that, hm, maybe we shouldn't be surprised by this. Smith has done sci-fi (Men In Black) before, and movies with his son and co-star Jaden Smith before (The Pursuit of Happiness) too. But After Earth lacked the wit and lightness that usually draws people towards Smith. It was a serious, sci-fi flick with only two real stars. And neither are known for their serious, sci-fi roles. Add the questionable M. Night Shyamalan as director, his annoying Justin Bieber-pal son Jaden as the co-star, some sub-Avatar looking CGI in the trailers, and it's not hard to see why people avoided After Earth. Oh, and that it was almost universally derided by critics didn't help.

Meanwhile, Now You See Me is a slick-looking heist movie with a cast so pedigreed it boggles the mind. Consider: Jesse Eisenberg, Michael Caine, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher and Morgan Freeman are all in this movie. How someone convinced all of these people to be in the same summer movie deserves its own oral history. 

4. Star Trek: Into Darkness (Paramount): $16.4 million in 3,585 theaters [Week 3]

5. Epic (Fox): $16.4 million in 3,894 theaters [Week 2]

Captain Kirk and co. continue to chug forward as the popular but not world-beating early summer blockbuster. The only reason we gave it the nod over Epic, which earned just as much, is because Trek is playing in fewer theaters. 

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