One of the most intriguing movies still to come this year is Ang Lee’s Gemini Man, which pits an over-the-hill hitman played by Will Smith against a younger clone of himself, also played by Will Smith (kind of). Will double the Will Smiths be an equation that adds up to a big box office? The long-range tracking is in for the October release and we now have an idea how much Will Smith’s Gemini Man could make opening weekend.
Gemini Man releases in theaters on Friday, October 11 and Box Office Pro’s long-range tracking has the action film making between $25-$30 million in its opening weekend. We don’t know the exact budget on Gemini Man, but that seems rather unremarkable for a big budget sci-fi action film. However, it’s still early and there are quite a few factors that could work either for or against two-time Oscar winning filmmaker Ang Lee’s latest.
An opening in that range would be in the middle of the pack in Will Smith’s career, below Hitch and Bad Boys II but possibly just above stuff like Wild Wild West and After Earth. For Ang Lee, it would far surpass his last film, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, which failed to crack $1 million in its first weekend in wide release.
An opening between $25-$30 million would actually be the second best of Ang Lee’s career, behind Hulk’s $62.1 million and ahead of Life of Pi’s $22.4 million. That latter film wound up becoming quite successful, making $609 million worldwide, thanks in large part to international box office. So even if Gemini Man has a modest domestic debut, that isn’t the be-all end-all.
Will Smith’s drawing power at the box office isn’t what it used to be, but he is still a star and he can still deliver hits. In fact just this year Aladdin became the highest-grossing movie of Will Smith’s career. Admittedly, the success of that film was surely due more to the property than Smith himself, but I think his Genie was a question mark going in to the film and anecdotally it seems like audiences really embraced his take on the character.
The success of that film could make audiences excited to see Will Smith onscreen again. In addition, Gemini Man feels like a throwback to the kind of action movies the actor was making earlier in his career. If audiences want to see Will Smith in something like I Am Legend or I, Robot, that could bode well for Gemini Man.
There is also the technology factor and the boundaries Ang Lee is pushing on multiple fronts with this film. De-aging technology has become commonplace thanks to the Marvel films but Gemini Man still stands out and audiences may be intrigued to see what Ang Lee has done. The film will also be playing in 120FPS, but that shouldn’t have much impact either way given its limited distribution and general audiences’ ignorance of the differences in the frame rate technology.
Working against Gemini Man is the fact that it is an original blockbuster, an increasingly rare thing these days, and audiences may skip it because it isn’t part of some brand and they don’t know what it is enough to take a chance on it. The trailers will need to sell them and differentiate this film and personally, while I’m excited for the film, I don’t think the trailers have been particularly remarkable.
On the competition front, Gemini Man only really has The Addams Family to contend with opening weekend. That animated film is tracking to open between $16-$21 million and is obviously targeting a younger audience and shouldn’t detract much from Gemini Man. However, the week prior to Gemini Man’s release is the opening of Todd Phillips’ Joker.
If that DC film is a hit with critics and adult moviegoers, enthusiasm for it could carry over to its second weekend and eat away at Gemini Man’s prospects. That said, Joker will be R-rated and Gemini Man is PG-13 and some audiences may prefer more traditional action fare versus the dark character study of Todd Phillips’ film.
It’s way too early for reviews so we have no idea whether they will help or hinder this movie, but I tend to think Gemini Man’s success will hinge a lot on how well its received and what kind of word of mouth it has.
Gemini Man opens in theaters on October 11. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to keep track of all the movies coming later this year.