For more than 20 years, Independence Day has remained the highest-grossing movie of Will Smith's career. No longer. Over the weekend, the live-action Aladdin remake took the top spot. This proves that Smith is still a massive talent that audiences worldwide want to see on screen and that, perhaps, his best days aren't yet behind him.
As of this writing, Disney's remake of Aladdin has grossed $874 million globally. That puts it well above Independence Day. which brought in a massive $817 million when it first hit theaters in 1996. Granted, if we were to adjust for inflation, Roland Emmerich's alien invasion classic would come out on top, but in terms of pure dollars earned, there was a lot of magic in Disney's latest live-action reimagining. The actor took to Instagram to thank his fans around the world, quite literally, in every language he could think to do it in. Here's what Will Smith had to say.
"To be in this game as long as I've been in this game and to have my biggest movie at this point in my career, I just want to say thank you... Everybody around the world, thank you, thank you, thank you."
Many were skeptical about this remake prior to its arrival in theaters. Not only was this treading on sacred ground for 90s Disney fans, but director Guy Ritchie was coming off of the biggest bomb of his career with King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. Plus, the early trailers were not at all encouraging to those commenting online. Specifically, many thought Will Smith's Genie was anything but magical. However, in the final product, he turned out to be one of the movie's saving graces. The late Robin Williams voices Genie in the original animated movie, which went on to become one of the most beloved roles of his career. That made for some big shoes to fill, and Smith managed to do it.
Critically speaking, Aladdin didn't exactly hit it out of the park, as the movie currently boasts just a 56 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. However, the audience rating is significantly better, at 94 percent. This turned out to be a true crowd pleaser. Suicide Squad, which also went on to become a huge hit despite a lack of critical embrace, remains Will Smith's highest-grossing movie domestically with $325 million. The DC Comics adaptation went on to gross $746 million worldwide. That gives Smith two massive hits in three years. After suffering several flops such as After Earth, Winter's Tale and Collateral Beauty, this serves as a nice turnaround.
Next up for Will Smith is the long-awaited Gemini Man, which comes from director Ang Lee and sees the 50-year-old actor playing two versions of himself, one much younger utilizing de-aging technology. Smith is also set to reunite with Martin Lawrence for Bad Boys for life, which hits theaters in January. Be sure to check out the full video from Will Smith's Instagram below.