Smith is back and yes it’s better than ‘After Earth’.
If you’d been wondering what it would take to knock Fifty Shades Of Grey off the top of the US box office, it turns out the answer was Will Smith. Smith returned to the big screen this weekend in con-man comedy Focus, which managed to steal the No. 1 spot from Fifty Shades which had been dominating theatres since its Valentine’s release’
The comedy, which co-stars Margot Robbie now looks set to take around $20 by the end of the weekend, according to the Hollywood Reporter, after pulling in $6.4 million on its opening Friday. The film is something of a return to form for Smith who suffered a career blow when After Earth bombed in 2012.
Both Will Smith and Margot Robbie found themselves drawn to the plot for very different reasons.
To follow up their hit comedy Crazy Stupid Love, writer-directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa have merged the con-artist heist thriller with the romantic-comedy genre; a move that was Will Smith's first encouragement with getting involved with the movie.
Will Smith and Margot Robbie star in 'Focus'
Will Smith was drawn to the material both because of the filmmakers and the subject matter. "When I read Focus it was so interesting because it's so many different kinds of movie," he said. "Glenn and John completely ignore genre, so it's a heist film but then it will be a bizarre comedy for awhile and then it's really serious and there is great action. And then there's a wonderful love story in the centre of the film. We would be in scenes sometimes and we would be like, 'This is serious right?' and they'd be like, 'Yeah, but have fun with it.'"
Continue reading: 'Focus' Starring Will Smith Teaches The Art Of The Con
A very odd blend of caper action, dark drama and romantic comedy, this slickly made con-artist romp never quite finds its stride. There's a merciful vein of sharp wit in the script, thanks to writer-directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (Crazy Stupid Love) and a spiky performance from Margot Robbie. But Will Smith's presence leaves everything feeling rather tame, compromising his character by making him a nice-guy crook rather than the unpredictable black-comedy protagonist he really should have been.
It opens as the wide-eyed Jess (Robbie) approaches veteran grifter Nicky (Smith) about learning the art of the con. She follows him to New Orleans for some major pickpocketing and double-crossing in the run-up to a big football championship, but Nicky unceremoniously dumps her afterwards. Three years later, they meet again in Buenos Aires, where both appear to be running scams centred around the Formula One team owned by Garriga (Rodrigo Santoro), who's never far from his right-hand goon (Gerald McRaney). With help from his old pal Farhad (Adrian Martinez), Nicky sets out to run his sting. But Jess is a distraction, and the stakes are too high for him to take his eye off the game.
While it's one of the running gags, Nicky's soft centre is a serious problem here, making the movie feel like a vanity project for Smith, who seems far too determined to be sympathetic. (Ficarra and Requa know how to make an anti-hero likeable: see Bad Santa.) Instead, Smith is a jarring combination of beefy physicality, fast-talking thievery and squidgy emotions. Robbie is able to more effectively merge Jess' gung-ho personality with her gleeful criminality, but when they're both together on-screen it's impossible not to feel like everything about the characters' relationship is a big con. So we wait for the script to reveal its clever twists and turns. But they're surprisingly few and oddly inconsequential.
Continue reading: Focus Review
Will Smith appears to be back on track after the disappointment of 'After Earth'.
Last week we reported on an interview that Will Smith had given to Esquire in which he reflected on the commercial and critical disaster of After Earth - the 2013 science-fiction film that starred Smith and his son Jaden as humans settled on a new world, Nova Prime.
Will Smith [L] and Margot Robbie [R] in Focus
"'Wild Wild West' was less painful than 'After Earth' because my son was involved in 'After Earth,' and I led him into it. That was excruciating," mused Smith.
Continue reading: Will Smith Returns to Form with Exciting, Sensual 'Focus'
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith - The Los Angeles Premiere of "Focus" at TCL Chinese Theatre on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 in Hollywood, California. - Hollywood, California, United States - Wednesday 25th February 2015
Will Smith - A variety of stars were photographed as they attended the World Premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' new film "Focus." The premiere was held at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California, United States - Wednesday 25th February 2015
Will Smith and Margot Robbie - A variety of stars were photographed as they attended the World Premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' new film "Focus." The premiere was held at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California, United States - Tuesday 24th February 2015