Will Smith has been quiet for a few years since the release of his last film in 2008, Seven Pounds. No matter what job field you’re in, a four year break is a long one and his absence from the spotlight left many wondering about his current box office appeal with the release of The Men in Black 3, the third film of the series. Would Smith be able to reach the tickets sales of his previous films after such a long break? He kind of did, yes.
The film opened Memorial Day weekend and made over $54 million and if you count Memorial Day, the total was just over $63 million. At first glance, when compared with Men in Black which made $51 million and Men in Black II which made $52 million and their opening days, it would appear he’s doing better than ever; but when adjusted for ticket price inflation, the story changes. If you adjust MIB’s opening weekend numbers to current day prices it brought it over $88 million. MIB:II, when adjusted for inflation and even though it was met with poor reviews and poor public opinion at the time, earned nearly $73 million. With these numbers, the latest installment for the Men in Black doesn’t bode well for Smith’s box office appeal. Plus, the first two movies opened on Wednesdays and probably would have earned more had they held the releases until Friday like they did for the third film. The third film is also the only one whose ticket prices included the extra 3D charges.
When put against the movie’s production budget of $230 million, $54 million seems like pocket change but is Smith responsible for the poor box office results? To start, this third installment came ten years after its predecessor. CinemaScore, a market research firm, reported that about half of all moviegoers who went to see Men in Black 3 did so to see Smith according to their research. So the actor is one of the only reasons the movie made as much as it did, regardless of whether he’s been acting during the last four years or not.
Further when you average out the opening weekend numbers for Smith’s last five feature films, they average at $52 million which makes Men in Black’s $54 million above the average. Though it’s a disappointing number when compared with how much it took to make the three-quel, the numbers can’t be blamed on Smith’s acting sabbatical.
The next test for Smith’s silver screen appeal will be in After Earth, the next movie from director M. Night Shyamalan. The film will costar Jaden Smith, the actor’s son. It’s set for release next summer.
With ever-rising ticket prices and the disappointing films being made, it’s no wonder more and more people are turning to building their own home theaters where they can watch movies on a big screen and even eat movie theater popcorn right from the comfort of their own home. After the initial costs of installing the screen, sound system, and plenty of furniture for the whole family and some friends, a home theater will more than pay for itself.