I Am Legend may have earned almost $600 million at the box office, back in the days before billion-dollar blockbusters were the norm, but its $77 million opening weekend was a disappointment to the Independence Day star. During an interview with Oprah Winfrey on Apple TV+'s The Oprah Conversation, Smith admitted that when the numbers came rolling in, producer James Lassiter was surprised to hear Smith second-guessing the movie's opening, which at that time was a record. The star says that in spite of the $77 million, he was fixated on the idea of missing the $80 million mark.
The film, based on the novel from Richard Matheson, centered on an Army virologist played by Smith, surviving against the backdrop of a vampire apocalypse. Smith described his conversation with Oprah.
"I'm excited for 30 seconds, and then my mind drifts and I say to J, 'Hey, why do you think we missed 80?" Smith said. "He said, 'What?' And I said, 'No, it was 77, do you think if we would have adjusted the ending? Because I wanted the ending to feel more like Gladiator.' He's like, 'It's the biggest opening in history, ever. What are you talking about?' I'm like, 'J, I get that, I'm just asking why do you think we missed the 80?' And it's the only time he ever hung up on me."
Both Winfrey and Smith made fun of Smith's younger self after that, with Winfrey saying that she liked the ending because she thought he deserved to be hung up on.
Fans have long lobbied for an I Am Legend sequel, but one has never even been in development. It was one of a number of movies Smith made as part of a long streak of hits that began with Independence Day in 1997.
The movie is also the subject of some very popular trivia, as it featured a movie marquee for a Batman/Superman movie long before Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was a reality.