In a candid interview with Esquire, Will Smith opens up about After Earth's lack of success at the box office. Although, the film did generate a profit it is considered a box office failure. It grossed $243M worldwide, but only 25% of that revenue came from the North American box office. It cost $130M to produce, but that isn't factoring in marketing costs.
Either way, Will Smith calls After Earth "the most painful failure" in his career. That dubious honor used to belong to Wild Wild West, which came out in 1999. "Wild Wild West was less painful than After Earth because my son was involved in After Earth and I led him into it," Smith explained to Esquire. "That was excruciating. What I learned from that failure is how you win. I got reinvigorated after the failure of After Earth. I stopped working for a year and a half. I had to dive into why it was so important for me to have number-one movies. And I never would have looked at myself in that way. I was a guy who, when I was fifteen my girlfriend cheated on me, and I decided that if I was number one, no woman would ever cheat on me. All I have to do is make sure that no one's ever better than me and I'll have the love that my heart yearns for. And I never released that and moved into a mature way of looking at the world and my artistry and love until the failure of After Earth, when I had to accept that it's not a good source of creation."
After Earth had a lackluster $27M opening weekend, but that wasn't even the worse news Smith encountered during that period. "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," Smith recalled. "That put it in perspective—viciously."
Will Smith is playing 'Deadshot' in DavidAyer's Suicide Squad movie, which will land in theater Aug. 5, 2016.