Will Smith: July 4th Hero AND Christmas Savior?

By at July 6, 2007 | 10:27 am | Print

Will Smith in I Am LegendUPDATE (07.02.08) Will Smith’s next big July 4th movie is finally here. Of course, it’s Hancock, as opposed to “John Hancock,” the working title mentioned below. (Hey, it was accurate when we wrote it.) As of this writing, it would appear Smith’s box office magic is still very powerful: The July 1 previews of Hancock grossed just short of $7 million.

When it comes to box office bingo, there are fewer sure bets than Will Smith.

So while enormous robots continue to eat up the weekend, let’s look at a guy who’s been a July 4th guarantee… and may become the same for Christmas (check the trailer below).


After starting his film career with roles that could be termed “artistic” — Where the Day Takes You and Six Degrees of Separation — Smith starred in Michael Bay’s Bad Boys (1995). And proved, with a $65 million take, that he could “open a movie.”

Independence Day Movie PosterBoy, could he. July 2, 1996 brought Independence Day — and Smith’s summer box office fate was nearly instantly sealed. Combining his humor, charm and Roland Emmerich’s powerhouse effects, Smith helped bring in a massive $306 million. To put that in perspective, only one 2006 movie grossed that much (Pirates: Dead Man’s Chest).


Smith became the King of July 4th with three more releases, all “popcorn” movies of various quality: the entertaining Men In Black (’97), Jon Peters’ boring vanity project Wild Wild West (’99), and the quirky Men In Black II (’02). This trio grossed over $550 million total. Now that’s bank.

And when Smith projects weren’t pegged for July 4th, they came around just a week or two later: The silly Bad Boys II ($138 mil.) and the so-so I, Robot ($144 mil.)


In 2001, Michael Mann’s Ali was a critical milestone for Smith, an Academy Award-nominated performance that showed the Fresh Prince could go “method” or “money” with equal ease.

Will Smith in The Pursuit of HappynessPut the two together and you have The Pursuit of Happyness, a Christmas season release (like Ali) that resulted in another nomination, but also scored big cash: $163 million, for what is essentially a smallish personal drama.


For Smith films, Christmas may become what July 4th once was. We’ll find out when the apocalyptic I Am Legend (trailer above) hits U.S. theaters December 14, starring our hero as the last man on earth.And finally, Will Smith movies may be making a July 4th comeback of sorts. The planned release date for the Michael Mann-produced John Hancock, starring Smith as a fallen superhero, is currently July 2, 2008.

He may end up owning both seasons… Now that’s Hollywood power.

QUESTION: What Will Smith movie have most enjoyed? TELL US

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  1. und3rdog, 10 years ago Reply

    I haven’t seen many of those movies you mentioned. But I do know which one I *HATE* – Independence Day. Ugh it’s on my top10 most hated movies list – the characters had paper-thin depth, ridiculous plotline and situations, and insulted moviegoers’ intelligence everywhere. Amazingly almost everyone I know loved it. THANKFULLY amongst close friends, we have laughed about how stooopid the film truly is. Ok, no more venting. Please, just no more mention of the “smash hit” Indepedence Day.

  2. Norm S., 10 years ago Reply

    - und3rdog – I’m not much of an Independence Day fan either, and I’ve found something interesting. Most guys I’ve talked to think the movie’s okay at best; most girls really like it. Maybe Will Smith is the difference? Who knows.

    If Independence Day were a little more hardcore camp, I would have really liked it. Don’t forget: director Roland Emmerich’s next masterpiece would be Godzilla. Jeez.

    -Norm S.

  3. Decatur_Girl, 10 years ago Reply

    I loved independence day. Not too violent and quite honestly, Will is total eye candy. Who cares what the story line is :-)

  4. Norm S., 10 years ago Reply

    - Decatur_Girl –

    Like I said, most girls really like it…

    -Norm S.

  5. دکتر, 9 years ago Reply

    it’s OK

Leave a Reply → Decatur_Girl