Will Smith: The most powerful actor on the planet

Will Smith Jada Pinkett

According to a new report by Newsweek magazine, Will Smith has ascended the throne of the most powerful actor on the planet. This isn’t a far off case to make for Smith at all. He’s been following a string of hits without breaking a stride and what makes it more impressive is that he scores box-office gold even when he's tested his mettle in several genres.  His quiet quest to rule the box-office is evident in his charisma and appeal to all demographics.  Of course, the flipside to this assertion is that most measurements and metrics with cumulative box-office stats for actors tend to fall astray of the real numbers. But in Smith’s case, the moniker seems fully qualified.  For the longest time (close to a decade now), the list for the biggest movie star on the planet looked something like this: 

  1. Tom Cruise
  2. Tom Hanks

Or alternately: 

  1. Tom Hanks
  2. Tom Cruise

The two Toms have reigned supreme for close to a decade and now but Cruise has suffered a public relations debacle over the last year and Hanks' everyman appeal is showing a few cracks.  They’re still both on the top of their game but Smith has caught up in a big way. So how has Smith built his credibility and reputation as a powerhouse at the global box-office? He’s done a number of things to ensure his domination: 

  1. Picking the right commercial projects with characters that defy race – his last six movies have each grossed over $100 million domestically
  2. Working with serious directors like Michael Mann and Robert Redford to finesse his 'serious actor cred'
  3. Always making sure he’s part of a tentpole summer movie – see Independence Day, Men in Black and I, Robot
  4. Traveling the globe promoting his movies – he’s a tireless promoter according to many sources
  5. Signing a production pact with Indian producers and appearing on Indian Idol, further looking to tap his appeal to a potential 1.1 billion people

Smith’s next film is I am Legend, based on the Richard Matheson classic. It’s a project that’s languished in development hell for a long time in various stages of development. It’s set for release at the end of the year. Smith’s dogged pursuit of success won’t likely stop until he wins an Oscar – a holy grail for any actor. He’s been nominated twice for Ali and Pursuit of Happyness. The conquest of Will Smith is almost complete, Big Willie style.


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