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Five Times Will Smith Was a Box Office Success

Love him or shame him, Will Smith is a movie box office pleaser.

Smith is one of the producers and stars as the lead character in the new Apple Original Film “Emancipation.” He plays an enslaved man in Louisiana in the 1860s who escapes his plantation. The film was inspired by the real-life story of Gordon (named “Peter” in the film). Gordon was a former slave whose photographs of his bare back, heavily scarred from an overseer’s whippings, were published worldwide in 1863.

It remains to be seen if the film will pull in viewers. But at the box office, Smith tends to score.

Here are the top five grossing movies in Smith’s three-decades-long acting career.

1. ‘Aladdin

Part of Disney’s reimagining of its classic animated films, the live-action retelling of “Aladdin” (2019) starred Smith as Genie. It is his best-grossing movie of all time, grossing more than a billion at the box office. It took in $1.051 billion. Smith reportedly made $12.5 million in Aladdin playing as “Genie,” The Hollywood Reporter reported. The budget reportedly was $183 million.

Smith’s “Aladdin” got mixed reviews from critics, but fans loved him in it.

2. ‘Independence Day

Shortly after Smith’s popular TV series “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” ended in May 1996, Smith debuted one of his biggest blockbuster roles, Captain Steven Hiller in “Independence Day.”

Debuting on July Fourth, the film was considered a milestone achievement in American special effects, being the second top-grossing film in the ’90s, losing to “Jurassic Park” (1993).

The movie grossed more than $817 million at the box office. Smith got paid $5 million for “Independence Day” and the film had a budget of $75 million.

3. ‘Suicide Squad

Smith portrays Deadshot in the DC Comic film “Suicide Squad” (2016). The film had a severely mixed reaction from the general audience, yet the movie still grossed more than $746 million.

For his role as Deadshot in “Suicide Squad,” Smith earned $20 million in a movie that cost $175 million to make.

4. ‘Hancock

Normally, Smith secured the roles of protagonists who represented a symbol of justice, and then there is Smith’s John Hancock, an anti-hero who is immoral and suffers from amnesia and alcoholism. 

“Hancock” did not sit well with professional critics, but moviegoers were swayed by Smith’s character, especially among a young demographic. Hancock won a Blimp Award at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards for Favorite Movie Actor and the Teen Choice Award for Choice Summer action-adventure category.

This dark humor, action comedy from 2008 was not only one of Smith’s best-performing box office roles, grossing more than $629 million, but it was the fourth-highest grossing movie of that year. The film fell short behind “Kung Fu Panda,” with more than $631 million; “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” with more than $790 million; and “The Dark Knight,” which almost made a billion dollars.

Smith’s salary was reported to be $20 million; the movie’s budget was $150 million.

5. ‘Men in Black 3

The “Men in Black” franchise is loosely based on an obscure comic book limited series created and written by Lowell Cunningham in 1990. When the comic book got adapted into a movie in 1997 it starred Will Smith as Agent Jay, and Tommy Lee Jones as Agent Kay. The buddy-cop film about investigating paranormal activity and fighting aliens was a smash hit. The box office success of the fan-favorite action sci-fi comedy movie by Columbia Pictures and Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment generated two sequels, with the trilogy’s final film grossing the most.

“Men in Black 3,” which came out in 2012, a decade after its second installment, grossed more than $600 million, becoming Sony Pictures No. 1 title at the time, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“Men in Black3” had a production budget of $225 million, and Smith got paid $100 million, Insider reported.

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