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Is Will Smith The Box Office G.O.A.T?

So Hancock (pause?) opened last week and it has already generated over $107 million.

The movie was damn good by the way. Sure, that much debated plot twist took away from the flick a bit, but not enough to earn Will Smith his first dud in years. At this point, Hancock, marks Will’s seventh consecutive blockbuster ($100 mill+) -tying Tom Cruise for the longest blockbuster streak in Hollywood history. The man can do no freakin’ wrong. It doesn’t matter what he tackles, sci-fi thrillers, romantic comedies, or drama. He’s the freakin’ man.

I remember when Eddie Murphy was the man. Not by Box Office standards, but being the most famous black actor and arguably the biggest star on the planet. Back then I asked my big brother, who was as big of an Eddie fan as I am a Will fan today, if he thought any black actor could ever top what Eddie was doing at the time. “Never,” he undoubtedly replied. Pffttt! It turns out that Eddie didn’t do half what Will has done numbers-wise. Actually, very few cats have comparable resumes. I couldn’t find the exact statistic, but word is Smith has the highest opening weekend average in movie history. In my opinion, Big Willie is the Box Office G.O.A.T. There isn’t a star as bankable now, there arguably has never been one in the past and it’s gonna be tough finding one in the future. Still, guys like Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks and Harrison Ford have put up digits monstrous enough that G.O.A.T rights are up for debate.

So, here’s how we’ll crown the G.O.A.T. First off, the actors must have played a main role in at least 10 blockbusters ($100+) to enter the ballot. We’ll then tally blockbuster percentage rates (how many of your films are blockbusters), number of blockbusters and overall blockbuster total gross. Interestingly, a little research revealed that Mel Gibson, Kevin Costner, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger fall way short of the ballot. Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Adam Sandler and Will Ferrell barely missed the entry. Here we go.

Tom Hanks

# of Blockbusters: 12
Blockbusters rate: 38% of Hanks’ movies have been blockbusters
Total Blockbuster Gross: $2, 033,710,801
AVG Gross Blockbuster: $169, 475, 900

(2006) The Da Vinci Code: $217,536,138
(2002) Catch Me If You Can: $164,435,221
(2002) Road To Perdition : $104,054,514
(2000) Cast Away: $233,630,478
(1999) The Green Mile: $136,801,374
(1998) Saving Private Ryan: $216,119,491
(1998) You’ve Got Mail: $115,731,542
(1995) Apollo 13: $172,036,360
(1994) Forrest Gump: $329,168,011
(1993) Sleepless In Seattle: $125,636,987
(1992) A League Of Their Own: $105,087,837
(1988) Big: $113,472,848

Will Smith

# of Blockbusters: 11
Blockbusters rate: 69% of Smith’s movies have been blockbusters
Total Blockbuster Gross: $1,864,555, 510
AVG Blockbuster Gross: $169,505, 046

(2008) Hancock: $107,321,000
(2007) I Am Legend: $256,393,010
(2006) The Pursuit of Happyness: $162,586,036
(2005) Hitch: $177,575,142
(2004) I Robot: $144,801,023
(2003) Bad Boys II: $138,396,624
(2002) Men In Black II: $192,404,579
(1999) Wild Wild West: 113,805,681
(1998) Enemy Of The State: $111,544,445
(1997) Men In Black: $250,147,615
(1996) Independence Day: $306,169,255

Harrisson Ford

# of Blockbusters: 11
Blockbusters rate: 31% of Ford’s movies have been blockbusters
Total Blockbuster Gross: $2,620,163, 371
AVG Blockbuster Gross: $238, 196, 670

(2008) Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: $306,428,521
(2005) What Lies Beneath: $155,370,362
(1997) Air Force One: $172,650,002
(1994) Clear and Present Danger: $121,491,591
(1993) The Fugitive: $183,752,965
(1989) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: $195,078,838
(1984) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: $179,880,271
(1983) Return Of The Jedi: $309,206,384
(1981) Raiders of the Lost Ark: $245,034,358
(1979) The Empire Strikes Back: $290,272,072
(1977) Star Wars: $460,998,007

Julia Roberts

# of Blockbusters: 10
Blockbusters rate: 30% of Roberts’ movies have been blockbusters
Total Blockbuster Gross: $1, 325, 220, 349
AVG Blockbuster Gross: $132, 522, 034.9

(2004) Ocean’s Twelve: $125,531,634
(2001) Ocean’s Eleven: 183, 405, 771
(2000) Erin Brockovich: $125,548,685
(1999) Nothing Hill: $116,089,678
(1999) Runaway Bride: $152,149,590
(1997) My Best Friend’s Wedding: $126,805,112
(1993) Pelican Brief: $100,650,595
(1991) Hook: $116,347,538
(1991) Sleeping With The Enemy: 100,294,830
(1990) Pretty Woman: $178,396,916

Tom Cruise

# of Blockbusters: 15
Blockbusters rate: 52% of Cruise’s movies have been blockbusters
Total Blockbuster Gross: $2, 175,275, 134
AVG Blockbuster Gross: $145, 018, 342

(2006) Mission Impossible 3: $133,382,309
(2005) War of the Worlds: 234,277,056
(2004) Collateral: 100,003,492
(2003) The Last Samurai: $111,110,575
(2002) Minority Report: $132,014,112
(2001) Vanilla Sky: $100,614,858
(2000) Mission impossible II: $215,397,307
(1996) Jerry Maguire: $153,620,822
(1996) Mission Impossible: $180,943,675
(1994) Interview With A Vampire: $156,976,509
(1993) The Firm: $156,976,509
(1992) A Few Good Men: $141,340,178
(1988) Cocktail: 107,786,000
(1998) Rain Man: $171,188,895
(1986) Top Gun: 176,650,237

So, after reviewing the numbers. It may seem like Harrison Ford is the G.O.A.T. at first glance. I mean, $238, 196, 670 per blockbuster? Insane! The thing is he kinda cheats with the Star Wars franchise. Sure, Ian Solo was as cool as they come, but neither he, Mark Hamill, nor Chewbacca was the draw in that movie, so it should count when trying to establish how bankable he is. The same goes for Julia Roberts. She shared top billing in nearly half of her blockbusters. Besides, her numbers pale in comparison to the rest of the pack. Then there’s Tom Cruise who leads the field with 15 blockbusters. He’s shared screen time with some giants like Nicholson (A Few Good Men) and Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man), but has definitely proven to be a draw in most of his flicks. Hanks’ numbers are pretty impressive as well, but bottom line, Smith has done more in less time. It took Ford 31 years to pile up this many blockbusters. It took Cruise 20, Hanks 18 and Roberts, who easily could have been left off the list, 14. Will did it in 12 and at only 39, is far from done. He’s a sure shot at this point. It’s been seven years since he’s had a movie gross less than $100 million. The question is, if you had to pick any actor to carry your movie, who would it be? I never thought I’d wanna cast a rapper in a flick, but for me, Will Smith all day.

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