After Earth Box Office Prediction

After Earth will go quite a ways towards answering this question at the box office over the weekend: how bankable is Will Smith anymore?

This is a very open question. The Fresh Prince has kept a relatively low-profile over the past few years. His only high-profile summer pic since 2008’s Hancock was last summer’s Men in Black 3. It earned $179 million domestically – not a bad number, but also the lowest of the trilogy. Smith had an incredible run from 1996 to 2008 where four of his films (Independence Day, Men in Black, I Am Legend, Hancock) earned over $200 million and seven others crossed the $100 million mark.

After Earth does not have the advantage of being a sequel or being based on a known property. The trailers, in my opinion, have been unimpressive. Earth features the actor costarring with his son, Jaden. The younger Smith had a giant hit of his own two years ago with the Karate Kid remake, produced by his dad. The story is based on Will’s original idea and is directed by M. Night Shyamalan. At one time, the fact that M. Night is behind the camera would have been a selling point for the studio. Those days have passed and I wrote an extensive post just yesterday focused on Shyamalan’s career:

So – let’s get to the prediction, shall we? As I see it, anything above a $50 million opening should be considered a nice surprise for all involved here. I just don’t see that happening and I’m not seeing enough in the marketing campaign to justify that prediction. A better question is whether After Earth reaches $40 million. And I’m not even sure of that.

There’s a big part of me that wants to project a low-30s opening here. However, I’m going to give Smith a little bit of credit here with his ability to open a science fiction picture. This is a tough one and I could see this falling anywhere between $30-$50 million. Neither extreme would shock me. I may regret this, but I will say:

After Earth opening weekend prediction: $39.1 million

That’s all for now. Check back tomorrow for my opening weekend projection for Now You See Me, which also debuts Friday. On Wednesday, I’ll predict next weekend’s top five, including projections for how Fast and Furious 6, The Hangover Part III, and Epic hold up in their sophomore frames.

**Update: my opening weekend prediction for Now You See Me can be found here:

11 thoughts on “After Earth Box Office Prediction

  1. Arthur, if you go to the Home Page or just Select Categories under Box Office Predictions and Results, it should bring up all b.o. predictions and the corresponding results posts that I do every week. Thanks for the question!

    • I know I’m new to your blog but I would love to see at the top of your “prediction results page” a straight stat. So basically a win/loss comparison.

      An example statement
      I, Todd, have called 47 movies right and 11 movies wrong. My rate of accuracy is 81%

      • arthur, probably not exactly what you’re looking for – but this is a rundown of my opening weekend predictions since I started doing them on the blog

  2. I have to agree with your prediction of $39 million for After Earth. From what I have seen in the past with the Madea and Tyler Perry movies, African Americans really do support their own. This movie will also draw 3D ticket pricing as well as IMAX ticket sales. The movie is rated PG-13 which is also a plus as parents will be more inclined to bring their teens. Jaden is quickly becoming a heartthrob and should be able to sell tickets based on his looks.

    • I would agree that Tyler Perry movies pander to the African American community, and is supported by the African American community faithfully. Will Smith does not fall into that category at all. Will Smith’s demographic is very wide, will the the African American community see it yes but so will many other demographics. He is not Mr. July because of solely one community supporting him.

  3. Some valid points, KB. I would say, though, that $39M for a Will Smith sci-fi picture is not that great compared to how I, Robot, Hancock, I Am Legend, etc… opened. It could do better ($50M wouldn’t totally shock me), but if it opens close to my prediction and then drops off big in later weekends, it might be considered a box office disappointment. We’ll see what happens! Thanks for the comments.

  4. Pingback: After Earth, Now You See Me Predictions – Epic, Fast & Furious 6 and The Hangover Part III Results | Box Office Ace

  5. I’m not sure if this could manage high 30’s. It just doesn’t look so great. Very underwhelming RT score, and I’m sure that will scare some off. I guess I shouldn’t underestimate Mr. Smith, though, I’m predicting it under Oblivion’s number. One thing that surprises me is that it’s not in 3D. No one’s going to be saying, “I want to watch this for M. Night Shyamalan because he’s been on a hot streak.” LOL. Anyway, my prediction for this is $34.3 million.

    • and that’s probably a better prediction than mine. i’m basically banking on Will Smith being able to open a pic at almost $40M as its sci-fi and summer. I hear you on the Rotten Tomatoes thing, but the studio might have been smart to ensure that no reviews came out until today and there wasn’t an entire week of terrible reviews. We shall see.

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