The 1999 film Wild Wild West starring Will Smith, Salma Hayek and Kevin Kline was somewhat of a worldwide hit, generating $20 million despite its uninspiring reviews.
During the Cannes Lions Session on Tuesday [June 21] Smith reflected on personal flops in his career and blamed them on his hunger for money. “I had so much success that I started to taste global blood and my focus shifted from my artistry to winning.” He revealed to The Hollywood Reporter he didn’t believe in the Wild Wild West:
I wanted to win and be the biggest movie star, and what happened was there was a lag — around Wild Wild West time — I found myself promoting something because I wanted to win versus promoting something because I believed in it.
He went on to discuss the power of social media and said, “smoke and mirrors in marketing and sales is over.” Thanks to social media audience reaction being so quick nowadays, Smith says he has to tackle meatier parts than his role in Wild Wild West.
People are going to know really quickly and globally whether a product keeps its promises. I consider myself a marketer. My career has been strictly being able to sell my products globally, and it’s now in the hand of fans. I have to be in tune with their needs and not trick them into going to see Wild Wild West.
This might be disappointing news if you actually enjoyed the 1999 film, but it shines a positive light on future Will Smith roles.