Will Smith’s 1st Movie Was a Box Office Bomb

Will Smith is a household name. Anything he touches turns to gold (at least before the infamous Oscars slap). But it wasn’t always that way. Like other celebrities, he persevered to get to where he is now. And he faced hurdles along the way. One came at the beginning of his film career, when Will Smith’s first movie flopped at the box office.

Will Smith’s road to stardom

Will Smith first film
Will Smith performs at Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve 1992 on December 31, 1991 | ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

Smith got his first recognition through the music industry in the late 1980s as a rapper known as the Fresh Prince. However, it wasn’t until The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air TV show that he truly stood out.

The show premiered on September 10, 1990. It remained on the air for six seasons, ending in 1996. You can still watch it on some networks because it was such a popular show.

When the series ended and Smith had time to expand his horizons, he focused on the big screen. With that decision, he eventually became the “only actor to have eight consecutive films gross over $150 million internationally and eight films in which he opened at number one,” IMDb reports.

Some of Smith’s most popular include Bad Boys (1995), Independence Day (1996), Men in Black (1997), and Seven Pounds (2008). For Men in Black, he won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance for the song “Men in Black.” And this past March, he won an Academy Award for his performance in King Richard.

With all his success, Will Smith has amassed a net worth estimated at $350 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. It’s tough to imagine he was broke while filming The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air or ever appeared in a failed film.

Will Smith’s 1st movie, ‘Where the Day Takes You,’ was a flop

Will Smith’s first movie was 1992’s Where the Day Takes You. He played Manny, a man with no legs. He’s friends with a group of street people led by a man named King. Many members in this group are drug addicts, though King is not. In fact, King (played by Dermot Mulroney) serves as the movie’s mentor who tries to help troubled kids.

The premise of the movie sounds promising. It’s about a group of homeless people who strive to take things in stride while going “wherever the day takes them.” However, the film failed to meet expectations. Its budget and box office numbers indicate the movie was a bomb, with an estimated $3 million budget and an opening weekend gross of just $190,961, IMDb reports. Worldwide, it made only $390,152.

Although it didn’t perform well at the box office, critics thought the movie was pretty good. On Rotten Tomatoes, Where the Day Takes You holds a Tomatometer rating of 80% and an Audience Score of 74%.

Roger Ebert said, “The movie, which was shot on and around Hollywood Boulevard, shows a side of runaway kids we haven’t seen before: how they form surrogate families in the streets, seeking reassurance and security that they never felt at home.”

And critic Dennis Schwartz wrote, “Nothing new here to be glommed, but this slickly done film is nevertheless hard-hitting.”

What is the actor doing now?

On March 27, 2022, Will Smith made headlines for the wrong reasons when he slapped Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards. The slap came in response to a joke Rock directed at Jada Pinkett Smith.

After the incident, several of Smith’s upcoming projects were put on hold. Though a Netflix action film, Fast and Loose, was announced, production has stalled. The same is true for a fourth Bad Boys movie.

Smith’s efforts as a producer are still going strong, but they have no estimated production date and only say they have been “announced.”

Smith promptly resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, saying he would “fully accept any and all consequences” for his conduct. The question now becomes whether those consequences will end his career.

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