After Earth may be the summer’s first bona-fide bomb.
The science fiction feature, starring megastar Will Smith and his son, Jaden, was expected to at least compete with Fast & Furious 6 for the box office crown. Now those hopes are crashing down to earth thanks to early box office figures.
Nor are Friday matinee numbers bringing much relief for After Earth, which may struggle to open much past $25 million unless ticket sales pick up in earnest, versus the $35 million-plus the father-son adventure was expected to bring in.
So who can be blamed if the early estimates turn out to be true? The film is attracting early buzz for possible ties to Scientology, a religion Smith hasn’t openly embraced but is suspected of following. The director, M. Night Shyamalan, has been on a creative cold cold streak and certainly has lost most of his box office allure.
And then there’s the notion that the elder Smith helped create the project as a father/son vanity vehicle–albeit one that carried a $130 price tag.
The film’s wretched reviews aren’t helping, either, but even the widely panned Will Smith western Wild Wild West managed to make it past the $100 million mark 14 years ago. After Earth may not be so lucky this summer.