Will Smith continues to feel the fall out from his infamous Oscars slap.
Despite the success of previous collaborations, Disney is rescheduling its latest National Geographic nature doc with the Bad Boys star. Bloomberg reports sources at The Walt Disney Company have decided to delay production on Pole to Pole, which will chronicle the actor’s trip to the North and South Poles. Originally set to begin in three weeks, production has now been pushed to the fall. Smith’s Westbrook Entertainment has a five-year first look deal for unscripted content at Disney, and he’s previously worked on the Nat Geo projects One Strange Rock and starred in Welcome to Earth, both of which are available on Disney+.
And the hits just keep coming as Netflix has officially canceled Bright 2, the sequel to his 2017 sci-fi/fantasy film. Bloomberg reporter Lucas Shaw posted about Smith’s National Geographic series being delayed and also mentioned that the streamer had “abandoned plans” for the follow-up, but that it was “unrelated” to the Oscars situation.
Bright was set in a world where magic and fantasy creatures like orcs and elves are real, but are treated like second-class citizens. Smith plays a police officer drawn into a magical conspiracy. The film got mostly bad reviews for its choppy plot, but it was a bonafide hit for Netflix, leading the streamer to almost immediately greenlight a sequel. Since then, Will has made several high-profile films like Aladdin, Gemini Man and King Richard, but there’s been no news on Bright 2. Honestly, I thought it had already been scrapped.
This project has clearly been off the books for a while, but it’s curious that the streamer would use this moment to be so public about it. Is it because they don’t want to admit they made a mistake in ordering a sequel and can now let everyone assume it’s all Will’s fault? Between a massive subscriber exodus and stock market losses, it hasn’t exactly been a great week for Netflix. This is textbook distraction.
Will is going to come back from this. It may take a while, because racism (we don’t get the same multiple chances as the Mel Gibson, Robert Downey Jr. and Ezra Millers of the business), but he’ll bounce back. He’s already apologized for his actions, but he needs to have the emotional Oprah sitdown, so everyone can hear his sincerity. After that, if he can get one studio to back him, and he delivers a hit, next thing you know everyone will love him again. How do I know this? This story has played out several times in Hollywood history.