Will Smith doesn’t want to trick his fans into seeing bad movies, like “Wild Wild West,” anymore.
E! Online reported the movie star cited the 1999 big-budget Western numerous times while reflecting on his blockbuster career at Cannes Lions on Tuesday.
“I had so much success that I started to taste global blood and my focus shifted from my artistry to winning,” Smith said. “I wanted to win and be the biggest movie star, and what happened was there was a lag — around ‘Wild Wild West’ time — I found myself promoting something because I wanted to win versus promoting something because I believed in it.”
About 13 of Smith’s movies have grossed over $100 million domestically over their lifetime, some of which weren’t hailed by critics. “Wild Wild West,” for example, grossed $113.8 million domestically ($221 million worldwide) although it now has a score of 17 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. “Bad Boys II” grossed $138.6 million ($273 million worldwide), but has a mere 23 percent approval rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.
And “Wild Wild West” is a particular film that Smith cited as an example of a movie he did for his status as opposed to something he thought was a good film. He said that the film’s marketing team did a good job of enticing fans to go see it, although he believes that marketing tactic doesn’t work these days anymore.
“That smoke and mirrors in marketing is over,” he added. “People are going to know really quickly and globally whether a product keeps its promises. Back in the ’80s and ’90s you had a piece of crap movie you put a trailer with a lot of explosions and it was Wednesday before people knew your movie was s–t…But now what happens is 10 minutes into the movie, people are tweeting, ‘This is s–t. Go see Vin Diesel.'”
He added, “My career has been strictly being able to sell my products globally, and it’s now in the hand of fans. I have to be in tune with their needs and not trick them into going to see ‘Wild Wild West.'”
His late friend, Muhammad Ali, never compromised for money, he said.
“He was living his values, rich or poor,” the 47-year-old actor said. “It was really beautiful for me to see how profoundly happy people were at his memorial,” he explained, “and that’s a result of him living his life with a purpose. Improving lives is how I want to move forward.”