Why ‘After Earth’ Bombed: Six Theories


As Richard Corliss recounts in this weekend’s box-office report, it has not been a great couple of days for the Smith family. Although Will Smith has a long history of bringing audiences to the theaters, his future-dystopic After Earth—in which he co-stars with his son Jaden—made a mere $27 million in its first weekend in theaters, landing it in third place, behind Fast & Furious 6 (now in its second week atop the rankings) and surprise contender Now You See Me.

(MORE: Richard Corliss’s review of After Earth)

So what went wrong? Here are six theories from a variety of Monday-morning pundits:

Blame director M. Night Shyamalan  (Richard Corliss at TIME)  Long past coasting on the success of Sixth Sense (way back in 1999), movies like Lady in the Water and The Happening were critical and commercial misfires. But if Shyamalan…

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