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

by Jackie Willis 9:07 AM PST, February 13, 2015
Photo: Columbia Pictures

Turns out, Will Smith wasn't too thrilled with After Earth either.

The 2013 M. Night Shyamalan sci-fi film starred both Will and his son Jaden Smith, and was one of the actor's box office bombs, grossing only $243 million globally ($27 million on opening weekend) on a $130 million production budget. When you compare this to his other films -- Hancock made $624 million while Hitch made $368 million-- it's easy to see why Smith saw this as a "failure."

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He even tells Esquire magazine that the negative reviews of After Earth were more of a blow for him than Wild Wild West, which made a meager $57 million on a reported $170 million budget. At least After Earth made a $113 million profit!

"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 actor tells the men's magazine. "That was the most painful failure in my career."

Will adds that he had a wake-up call that put everything in perspective. "After Earth comes out, I get the box-office numbers on Monday and I was devastated for about twenty-four minutes, and then my phone rang and I found out my father had cancer. That put it in perspective -- viciously," he recalls. "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."

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The A-list actor has lots of love and respect for his teenage son. "Jaden, my sixteen-year-old, he has one pair of shoes. He has three pair of pants and he has five shirts," Will bragged. "He has refused to be a slave to money. I so respect that."

Which of Will's film flops did you prefer: Wild Wild West or After Earth?

It's been 10 years since Will Smith's hit rom-com Hitch hit theaters. Check out ET's flashback video with Hitch himself, below.