All upcoming Will Smith movies releasing in 2022 and beyond
What will the star’s career look like after the Oscars in 2022?
Will Smith’s career was revolutionized in an instant by the “slap heard around the world” during the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony.
Few people will remember him for storming the stage and punching presenter Chris Rock for allegedly insulting Jada Pinkett Smith, then hurling profanities at Rock over the astonished silence of the audience.
The repercussions were quick and severe. For a decade, Smith was barred from attending the Academy Awards, and studios and networks canceled or postponed some of his previously planned projects. Bright 2, the sequel to Netflix’s 2017 alien/cop buddy film starring Smith, has wrapped production.
Smith does, however, have a number of projects in the works, which is unsurprising for a celebrity of his caliber. Will Smith is set to star in and produce the following films in 2022 and beyond.
Emancipation (actor and producer) – in post-production for 2023
Emancipation is a film directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, The Equalizer) about a runaway slave named Peter (Smith) who “forges through the marshes of Louisiana on a painful trek to escape plantation owners who nearly killed him” (IMDB.)
Given the film’s projected excellence, Smith’s production firm, Westbrook Studios, joined with Apple on the project, and awards season prospects for 2022 were bright, especially after Apple became the first streaming service to win Best Picture with last year’s CODA.
According to Variety, the studio has pushed the film out to 2023. Training Day, directed by Antoine Fuqua, earned Denzel Washington an Academy Award nomination. Is it too early for the Academy to honor Smith’s likely award-winning performance in Emancipation in 2023?
Bad Boys 4 (actor and producer) – in pre-production
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Sony Pictures has suspended development on Bad Boys 4, yet the film is still scheduled to release, according to IMDB. In the third film in the series, Bad Boys for Life, Smith returned with co-star Martin Lawrence to play cop Mike Lowrey.
Despite the fact that Bad Boys 2 had been released nearly two decades before, audiences were nonetheless passionate enough to make Bad Boys for Life the year’s biggest hit.
Granted, due to the first wave of the Covid-19 epidemic, studio production and distribution ended early in 2020, and the flood of comic book films on the schedule would have surely surpassed Smith’s feature as box office winner.
Even in a normal year, $206 million in ticket sales (and over 426 million worldwide) for an R-rated sequel in a 20-year-old franchise would be incredible. Sony looks unlikely to cancel Bad Boys 4 once the company determines that a sufficient period of time has passed since Smith’s Oscars incident.
Fast and Loose (actor and producer) – in pre-production
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix has simply put the criminal thriller Fast and Loose to “the back burner” after canceling Bright 2 outright. Smith will play John Riley, a career criminal who awakens in Mexico with amnesia and struggles to recall events from his prior life.
Originally, David Leitch (Deadpool 2, Atomic Blonde) was supposed to direct, but he dropped out before Smith’s incident at the Academy Awards. There are currently no new directors listed on IMDB.
The Council (actor and producer) – in pre-production
The Council is based on a true story about a successful African American crime syndicate operating in Harlem in the 1970s, according to IMDB. Smith will play iconic crime lord Nicky Barnes, dubbed “Mr. Untouchable” by the New York Times for his deftness in dodging law enforcement for so long.
Given that the film reunites Smith with Peter Landesman, who directed him in the 2015 NFL exposé Concussion, spectators may expect a high level of realism in this mob biopic if it goes ahead. Apart from Smith, Landesman, and a few producers, IMDB does not yet have a tentative release date or any more cast or crew members.
Hancock 2 (producer) – announced / in-development
In the original 2008 film, Smith portrayed the title character, a notorious superhero who undergoes public image rehabilitation and reunites with a mysterious figure from his past (Charlize Theron).
However, Smith’s role in Hancock 2 is only listed as a producer on IMDB, so it’s unclear in what capacity he’ll appear onscreen if the sequel is made. The “screenplay” is credited to TV writers Adam Fierro and Glen Mazzara, but narrative details are unknown, and IMDB shows no credits beyond authors and producers.
In a June 2020 story, Movieweb described Theron as indicating she would be open to a sequel, and Screen Rant claimed on March 22 that Colombia is developing it. The first picture was critically criticized and hasn’t exactly remained as a classic among audiences, despite grossing just under $630 million worldwide.
That, combined with the possibility that moviegoers will reject Smith as a superhero after “Slap,” could keep the film in development indefinitely.
The Karate Kid 2 (producer) – announced / in-development
IMDB lists Smith as a producer-only on many films that have been announced or are in development, including Uptown Saturday Night (tentatively starring Kevin Hart), Bounce, Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun, and The Karate Kid 2.
Smith’s son, Jaden Smith, starred in the 2010 version of The Karate Kid, which he produced. He’s also an executive producer on Cobra-Kai, the hit Netflix Karate Kid program. Despite the fact that Jaden is not included among the sequel’s cast members, his character from the original film, Dre Parker, is extensively featured in the storyline description.
Only time will tell if the “slap” and other tabloid difficulties surrounding the Smith family will have an impact on the development of the Karate Kid and later Smith films.