Did anyone expect Gemini Man to top the box office? For one, it feels like it’s from the 1990s or the early 2000s. It was unable to build any genuine interest among regular moviegoers. Yet despite the obvious signs of failure, production companies chose to spend nearly $138 million on it.
But that’s not the total amount it needs. Marketing Gemini Man also cost them $100 million. Thus, they spent almost a quarter of a billion dollars. It’s a bad gamble that never had a chance of winning in the first place — and we know why.
Will Smith Can’t Carry the Film Alone
When did you last see Will Smith in a top-performing movie? In particular, when was he part of a critically and commercially successful film? That was Men in Black 3 way back in 2012. It’s almost been a decade. Thus, it’s baffling why they chose to put Will Smith in the lead role — and also as his enemy.
Smith’s star power is no longer as reliable. If Paramount and the other producers got another Hollywood action star, it might’ve worked. But they were too confident with Will Smith Alone. Sure, he was in Suicide Squad, but that was a critical failure.
Others may argue that his 2017 movie Bright did well on Netflix. But that’s the point: It was made for a streaming platform. The number of views there doesn’t equally translate to movie ticket sales. And critics also weren’t kind on Bright.
Aladdin wouldn’t have earned $1 billion without the nostalgia factor and Disney. Not to mention, many people didn’t like the character design of Genie when the trailers were released. Thus, it’s wrong to say that he was a major selling point.
Ang Lee is Not The Same as Before
Just like Will Smith, Ang Lee is no longer an instantly recognizable name in the movie industry. He’s an award-winning director, sure. He made Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Brokeback Mountain. But those were from the early 2000s.
His only box office, critical hit in this decade is Life of Pi. But that had the support of fans who read the book it was adapted from. So why was he chosen?
It may be because of the two Chinese companies that helped produce Gemini Man: Fosun and Alibaba. Fosun could better market the film in China with Lee’s name.
A Terrible Trailer in Today’s Cinema
If you’ve seen the trailer, you already knew Gemini Man wasn’t going to be great. It looked dated and lacked the sprawling action pieces other action films have. Gemini Man doesn’t hold a candle to Marvel films. It’s not even exciting enough to complete with John Wick, Mission: Impossible, and or Kingsman.
Then again, the history of its production and development was a clear indicator as well. The ideas for Gemini Man were already around since 1997. Many directors such as Joe Carnahan and Tony Scott turned down the project. It took nearly two decades before it got its way into the big screen.
There was nothing new in Gemini Man. The idea of cloning has been done before — and any distinct ideas here weren’t executed well. The only hope it has to financially recover is to do well in streaming platforms and home video.