*Will Smith had a candid conversation with Oprah Winfrey on a recent episode of “The Oprah Conversation” about his disappointment over the box office success of his 2007 post-apocalyptic zombie thriller “I Am Legend.”
Directed by Francis Lawrence, the film opened to $77 million in U.S. theaters on December 14 and remains the biggest December opening for a non-Christmas release. Smith told Oprah that he was disappointed that the film didn’t have a record-breaking $80 million dollar box office.
“I’m excited for 30 seconds, and then my mind drifts and I say to J, ‘Hey, why do you think we missed 80?’” Smith said, recalling the phone call he had with producing partner James Lassiter after the film’s $77 million opening. “He said, ‘What?’ And I said, ‘No, it was 77, do you think if we would have adjusted the ending? Because I wanted the ending to feel more like “Gladiator.”‘ He’s like, ‘It’s the biggest opening in history, ever. What are you talking about?’ I’m like, ‘J, I get that, I’m just asking why do you think we missed the 80?’ And it’s the only time he ever hung up on me.”
Smith will next appear in the biographical drama “King Richard,” which finds him portraying Richard Williams, the father of legendary athletes Venus and Serena Williams.
Based on the true story that will inspire the world, “King Richard” follows the journey of Richard Williams, an undeterred father instrumental in raising two of the most extraordinarily gifted athletes of all time, who will end up changing the sport of tennis forever. Driven by a clear vision of their future and using unconventional methods, Richard has a plan that will take Venus and Serena Williams from the streets of Compton, California to the global stage as legendary icons. “King Richard” is a profoundly moving film that shows the power of family, perseverance and unwavering belief as a means to achieve the impossible and impact the world.
Smith, who also serves as one of the film’s producers, stars alongside Aunjanue Ellis as the girls’ mom, Oracene Wlliams, Saniyya Sidney as Venus Williams and Demi Singleton as Serena Williams, with Tony Goldwyn and Jon Bernthal as coaches Paul Cohen and Rick Macci.
Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, “King Richard” will be released in U.S. theaters and stream exclusively on HBO Max, November 19.