Double the Will Smith is, it would seem, not a recipe for box office success, as Gemini Man is set to be a huge box office bomb. Directed by Ang Lee, the action flick sees a hitman, played by Smith, who winds up entangled in a battle with a younger version of himself. Fancy (and expensive) de-aging technology was employed to bring this movie to life and, unfortunately for investors, moviegoers simply weren't as interested in this gimmick as expected. As such, it's expected to lose around $75 million.
This comes after a second weekend tumble at the box office. Gemini Man made just $8 million in its second frame domestically, while taking a 59 percent tumble internationally as well. Even in China, where the movie was expected to do quite well, it opened with a less-than-stellar $21 million, narrowly losing the weekend to Disney's Malefecent: Mistress of Evil. All told, the movie has brought in $118.7 million and, considering its incredibly steep $140 million production budget, plus the $100 million marketing spend, and Paramount isn't going to get close to profit on this one.
There are several factors at play here. Had this been a mid-budget action affair, comparable to something like John Wick (which it mostly looked like, save for the Will Smith gag), this could have possibly been a modest hit. But that massive budget is truly prohibitive. Not only did Ang Lee employ the costly, high-tech de-aging technology, but the two-time Oscar-winning director also shot the movie at a very high frame rate, which is something he previously experimented with on Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk. It should be noted that was also a costly flop.
Interestingly, as was a subject of much discussion ahead of the release, no theater in the U.S. was equipped to screen Gemini Man the way Ang Lee intended, since the tech he used to shoot it was, itself, pretty far ahead of the curve. Ultimately, all of that tech couldn't bail out the story in the eyes of many critics, as the actioner boasts just a 25 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Though, the audience rating sits at a much better 84 percent.
It's worth noting that Skydance put up 35 percent of the budget alongside Paramount, with two China-based companies, Fosun and Alibaba, fronting the other 30 percent. So that $75 million loss will be split by several parties, making it a recoverable disaster. This makes it something of a mixed year for Will Smith, who also starred as Genie in Disney's Aladdin remake, which went on to gross more than $1 billion at the global box office. Smith will next be seen in Bad Boys for Life, which arrives in January. Meanwhile, Ang Lee, who won Oscars for his work on Life of Pi and Brokeback Mountain, will need to find a way to bounce back. This news comes to us via The Hollywood Reporter.