Life in Film: Will Smith

A look back at Smith's incredible box office run.


1 / 15

Where the Day Takes You (1992) - He may be West Philadelphia born and raised, but now Will Smith is the king of Hollywood. It all started with Where the Day Takes You, an indie drama about teenage runaways in which Smith was the least-known star. But critics certainly took notice of his on-screen charisma. (Photo: Courtesy Cinetel Films)

Paul in Six Degrees of Separation - In Six Degrees of Separation, Will Smith played Paul, a young man who cons a wealthy white family into allowing him to live with them by pretending to be the son of Sidney Poitier and claiming he went to school with their kids. (Photo: MGM)

2 / 15

Six Degrees of Separation (1993) - Smith further proved his dramatic chops in this uptown drama, in which he plays a well-read con artist who has a knack for talking his way into Upper East Side penthouses. The actor also surprised viewers by playing a gay character, demonstrating how far he'll go to get into character.(Photo: Courtesy MGM)

Bad Boys (1995)

3 / 15

Bad Boys (1995) - It's the film that transformed Smith from TV star to box office gold. This buddy-cop comedy, which co-stars Martin Lawrence, kicked off the Fresh Prince's legendary eight-picture #1 streak and made him the prince of summer blockbusters.  (Photo: Courtesy Jerry Bruckheimer Films)

Independence Day movie poster|x-default

4 / 15

Independence Day (1996) - When this disaster-action-sci-fi-comedy mash-up debuted in July, it became clear to Hollywood and the world that Bad Boys wasn't just beginner's luck. The film grossed close to $1 billion worldwide and is among the biggest money-makers of all time.  (Photo: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox)

Men in Black (1997) - Will Smith's winning streak continued with this sci-fi comedy, which not only grabbed nearly $600 million in box-office dollars, but was one of the best-reviewed major releases of the year. Critical success for a summer blockbuster? Sounds more difficult than protecting the Earth from the scum of the universe.(Photo: Courtesy Columbia Pictures)

5 / 15

Men in Black (1997) - Smith scored a three-peat with this sci-fi comedy from cult director Barry Sonnenfeld. He also reignited his rap game by performing the film's title song. MiB earned overwhelmingly positive reviews, proving that popcorn flicks can win over even the harshest critics. (Photo: Courtesy Columbia Pictures)

Photo By Photo: Columbia Pictures

Ali (2001) - A commanding figure inside of the boxing ring, Muhammad Ali's greatest test came when he protested the draft.  (Photo: Courtesy Columbia Pictures)

6 / 15

Ali (2001) - After spending the '90s securing his post as the Blockbuster Boy, Smith kicked off the millenium by showing his serious side. His uncanny turn as legendary boxer Muhammad Ali reminded people of his dramatic acting chops and earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.  (Photo: Courtesy Columbia Pictures)

Leading Man

7 / 15

Men in Black II (2002) - It's hard to imagine studios could wait five years to get back into the lucrative MiB business, but their patience was worth it. The film's half-billion dollar gross worldwide proved that fans hadn't abandoned lovable Agent J. (Photo: Courtesy Columbia Pictures)

Bad Boys 2 - Bad Boys 2 is full of action, love and comedy for days. Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are one of the best on-screen duos to ever be captured on camera. Hopefully one day there will be a Bad Boys 3.  (Photo: Sony Pictures)

8 / 15

Bad Boys II (2003) - Smith kept the hits coming with this sequel to 1995's Bad Boys. While the critics were less kind to this installment of the Michael Bay franchise, moviegoers didn't seem to care. The film was a financial success, earning a quarter-billion dollars worldwide. As for Smith, despite the eight year gap between the two films, he looked as though he had hardly aged a day. (Photo: Courtesy Columbia Pictures)


9 / 15

I, Robot (2004) - This futuristic sci-fi actioner was Smith's most technically ambitious film to date, combining his blockbuster appeal with his skill for drama. Though it was a diversion from his typically feel-good summer flicks, it was another box office winner for the on-fire star. (Photo: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox)

Amerie ? '1 Thing' in Hitch - One thing is for certain, Amerie (aka Ameriie) drilled her way into our minds with her incredibly catchy love song.(Photo: Columbia Pictures)

10 / 15

Hitch (2005) - Finally! After a decade of fighting aliens, robots and everything in between, we got to see Smith's softer side in this romantic comedy, about a playboy matchmaker who falls in love, co-starring Eva Mendes. The film was a critical and commercial smash, making Smith one of the few A-list actors who could transcend genres.  (Photo: Courtesy Sony Pictures)

Pursuit of Happyness Premieres, Thursday at 9P/8C - Will Smith stars in the movie based on the life of Christopher Gardener.   Take a look at Will Smith's amazing career in film. (Photo: Columbia Pictures)

11 / 15

The Pursuit of Happyness (2006) - Just when we thought he was getting comfortable collecting those eight-figure paychecks for summer tentpole films, Smith surprised us again with his moving performance as a dad trying to reinvent himself for the sake of his son (played by Jaden Smith) in this real-life based drama. The actor earned his second Oscar nod. (Photo: Courtesy Columbia Pictures)

Photo By Photo: Courtesy Columbia Pictures


12 / 15

I Am Legend (2007) - We know he can carry a film, but in this post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller, Smith had to do it all by himself. The actor gave a riveting performance with no co-star to lean on for most of this visually groundbreaking film.  (Photo: Courtesy Columbia Pictures)


13 / 15

Hancock (2007) - After getting accustomed to seeing him clean cut and looking sharp, both on-screen and off, audiences were shocked to see a disheveled, surly Smith as alcoholic superhero John Hancock. Once again, the Philly native showed his range. (Photo: Courtesy Columbia Pictures)

Will Smith, Seven Pounds, BET Premiere Cinema, BET Star Cinema

14 / 15

Seven Pounds (2008) - This gut-wrenching drama didn't break box office records like many of Smith's other films, but it did keep his "serious actor" skills sharp. And the healthy $170 million gross showed that Smith doesn't need guns or visual effects to draw in his core fans.  (Photo: Courtesy Columbia Pictures)


15 / 15

Men in Black 3 (2012) - After a four-year hiatus from the big screen, Smith is back with the second sequel to his 1995 smash. Expectations are high, but considering he's pulling from his tried-and-true playbook, we wouldn't be surprised if Smith time-traveled back to his box office glory days with this one. (Photo: Courtesy Amblin Entertainment)