'Gemini Man' is pacing to be a huge box-office flop this weekend and lose its studio millions

Paramount‘Gemini Man.’
  • Paramount’s “Gemini Man” took in $US1.6 million at Thursday-night previews.
  • Its projection for the weekend is now $US24 million to $US29 million, according to Variety.
  • It’s a bad start for a movie made for $US138 million.
  • The Will Smith action movie has been slaughtered by critics and has only a 28% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes.
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It’s not looking good for Will Smith’s latest movie.

Paramount’s “Gemini Man,” the latest action movie from the two-time Oscar-winning director Ang Lee (“Life of Pi,” “Brokeback Mountain”), which stars Smith facing off with a younger version of himself, brought in only $US1.6 million at Thursday-night previews.

Weekend projections for the movie are now $US24 million to $US29 million on 3,642 screens, according to Variety.

For a movie that was made for $US138 million (with millions more spent on marketing), Paramount and the other companies that ponied up money (Skydance Media, Fosun Pictures, and Alibaba) are looking at a major loss when box-office figures come in Sunday.

Read more: ‘Gemini Man’ was made in such a technically advanced way that zero theatres in the US can show it as intended

The project has a tattered history. The story was conceived in 1997 and kicked around in development for close to 20 years, going through the hands of stars like Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Sylvester Stallone. Then Lee came along, bringing Smith and a love for making films in a high frame rate that provides a sharp picture quality audiences rarely see.

The combination of a superstar like Smith working under the watch of an artist like Lee, with technology that would stretch the limits of CGI and how movies are seen, should have been a huge win. But that’s clearly not the case.

No theatre in the US can even play the movie as Lee intended, and the story itself is being trashed by critics. “Gemini Man” has a Rotten Tomatoes critic score of 28%.

As Warner Bros. looks at a repeat weekend atop the domestic box office with “Joker,” “Gemini Man” will be battling to get Paramount a second-place finish versus the other big new release, United Artists’ animated “The Addams Family.”

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