When we heard a Will Smith movie was rapidly climbing the Netflix ladder into the service’s top twenty most-streamed films, we assumed it must be one of the two major blockbusters starring the star that just landed on the platform this month: I Am Legend or The Pursuit of Happiness. I Am Legend was an adaptation of a popular post-apocalyptic graphic novel of the same name, and The Pursuit of Happiness was a true story of a father overcoming impossible odds to give himself and his son the life they’ve dreamed of. Both valid choices for a Netflix binge. Surprisingly though, neither of these movies is the one topping the Netflix charts this week. Instead, it’s much-maligned box office flop, Gemini Man (via We Got This Covered).
People expected the science fiction flick about a hit man who has to take on a cloned version of his younger self to be a major hit considering the bona fide action star power of Smith in the leading role and celebrated director Ang Lee behind the camera. Unfortunately, it was a major disappointment to the studio, which had given the movie a budget of $138 million and only raked in $173 million at the box office when the movie was released in 2019.
Critics and audiences disagree
In spite of the movie being lambasted by critics upon its release and mostly snubbed by potential audiences who steered clear after the negative reviews, Netflix viewers are loving it. There are even statistics out there that prove there is a growing gap between the initial reviews of the movie and audiences’ current feelings about it. The Rotten Tomatoes scores for Gemini Man are particularly interesting because there is a major discrepancy between the “Tomato Meter,” which is given by critics, and the “Audience Score,” which is voted on by average viewers. The professional critics gave it a dismal 26 percent, while the current audience rating is a shockingly positive 83 percent. Anyone who frequents Rotten Tomatoes knows that a disparity of this magnitude between the two scores is rare.
The movie review website gives this synopsis of critics’ feelings about the movie: “Gemini Man’s impressive visuals are supported by some strong performances, but this sci-fi thriller is fatally undermined by a frustratingly subpar story.” And yet, it continues to climb up the Netflix ladder, gaining more and more viewers and, apparently, more and more fans as it goes.
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