Perhaps the world just wasn’t ready for two Will Smiths in the same movie. Ang Lee‘s Gemini Man, an action spectacle in which Smith has to fight a younger clone of himself, did paltry box office in America, but there was a hope that its weekend release in China could turn things around. But that didn’t happen. The end result is a box office bomb, with Gemini Man suffering a loss of at least $75 million. Ouch.
Will Smith is a superstar. Ang Lee is an award-winning director. Yet these elements, combined with much publicity about ground-breaking effects and tech, weren’t enough to interest audiences in Gemini Man. The sci-fi action flick was greeted with negative reviews and had to compete with the continued box office success that is Joker. The end result: a huge loss.
As THR reports, the movie’s domestic opening was a meager $20.5 million, but there was some hope the release in China would help the movie out. But Gemini Man finally opened in China over the weekend, and it came in second to Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. The film’s worldwide total is now $118.7 million, which is well below the reported production budget of $138 million.
Smith has had success at the box office with films like Suicide Squad (which everyone hated, but which did well financially anyway), and Aladdin. But he’s also suffered box office setbacks with titles like After Earth. Perhaps he’ll fare better with 2020’s Bad Boys For Life, which has him returning to a popular franchise.
As for Gemini Man, it’s destined to become little more than a curiosity at this point. Much digital ink was devoted to talking up the special effects work used to de-age Smith, along with the 120 frames-per-second high frame rate 4K 3D format the movie was shot in. But these details weren’t enough to entice audiences, and those who bothered to see the movie came away somewhat neutral. Sure, some of the effects work is impressive, but it’s packaged within a ho-hum story that never manages to excite as much as it should.
Gemini Man is a project that’s been gestating for years – the script has been kicking around since the 1990s. For the film to finally arrive all these decades later only to be pretty much ignored has to be more than disappointing to the folks involved. But hey, maybe the movie will finally find an audience on Blu-ray and digital. (Or not.)
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