© Reuters. Will Smith Fallout: These Movie Companies Are Pausing Movies And Could Lose On Backlash Against Actor
After the slap heard around the world, Will Smith has found himself in hot water with the Academy Awards and fans. The fallout is now set to impact the movie studios that already had Smith movies and projects in the works, and could cost several companies some huge box office takes in the meantime.
What Happened: After a joke made about his wife, Will Smith slapped comedian and actor Chris Rock on live television at the 94th Academy Awards, an event that aired on Walt Disney Co (NYSE: NYSE:DIS) owned ABC.
Smith has resigned from the Academy and faces potential suspension or expulsion from future award shows as an ongoing investigation looks into how to handle the aftermath.
A planned Netflix Inc (NASDAQ: NASDAQ:NFLX) movie called “Fast and Loose” has now been put on hold, according to a new report. Smith was set to star in the movie, which will tell the story of a crime boss. The movie could face more challenges as it lost its director David Leitch a week before the Academy Awards. “Fast and Loose” has now been put on the back burner by Netflix, which could mean the movie never gets released or is held up for some time. The movie could also decide to move forward with a new director and star to give it a fresh take.
Apple Inc (NASDAQ: NASDAQ:AAPL) has a movie called “Emancipation” in post-production that stars Smith. The movie was planned for a 2022 debut, but that could be under pressure after Smith’s behavior. Apple declined to comment to The Hollywood Reporter on the status of the film.
“Bad Boys 4,” which would star Smith and Martin Lawrence, has been put on hold for Sony Group Corp (NYSE: SONY). The movie has been in development, and Smith reportedly received a portion of a script for the movie in the popular franchise prior to the Academy Awards. Sony has put the movie on hold and a new timetable has not been revealed for the film that was greenlit after the success of the 2020 movie “Bad Boys For Life.”
In early March, it was announced that Warner Bros., a studio owned by AT&T Inc (NYSE: T), was developing a new “I Am Legend” movie that would star Smith and Michael B. Jordan. The movie will also be written by Akiva Goldsman, who wrote the screenplay for the 2007 original starring Smith.
Related Link: Will Smith Slap At Oscars Wasn’t HIs First Famous Slap (Video)
Why It’s Important: Smith is one of the highest grossing actors, and movie studios have enjoyed the revenue attached to projects with his name.
Bad Boys had three movies in the franchise released to date, with “Bad Boys For Life” the highest grossing in the franchise in 2020 with $206.3 million domestically and $426.5 million worldwide.
“I Am Legend” grossed $256.4 million domestically and $585.4 million worldwide, and Warner Bros. was planning for a huge second movie in the potential franchise. Jordan and Smith combined have been in movies that have grossed $12.3 billion worldwide.
For streaming platforms like Netflix and AppleTV+, having a movie with Smith attached can be a big win as it can lead to increased subscribers, strong marketing and cross-promotion of other upcoming releases, and help improve churn as releases with big names throughout the year help keep subscribers around.
Photo: Courtesy of Gage Skidmore on Flickr
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Will Smith Fallout: These Movie Companies Are Pausing Movies And Could Lose On Backlash Against Actor
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