Just in time for its 20th anniversary, the folks over at Screen Junkies have taken the critically panned (and audience avoided) Wild Wild West to Honest Trailers School.
Will Smith might be the star of a summer blockbuster once again with Aladdin, but let’s not mind wipe the sheer horrors of his first re-team with MIB director Barry Sonnenfeld. Based on the TV series of the same name, on paper WWW looked like a surefire hit. The director of Men in Black reuniting with its megastar for a sci-fi western featuring Kevin Kline as the uptight sidekick, Warner Bros ordered hundreds of extra money trucks that year to brace themselves for all the cash this movie was definitely going to make. Costing a reported $170 million to produce, the Wickey wild, wicky wicky wild wild wild west generated just $27 million during its opening weekend back in 1999. Closing out at $222 million worldwide, it was Smith’s first big-budget box office flop.
While the overall film is a complete mess, I have a soft spot for this movie. It came out the year I started working in a cinema, and gave me an insight into those all-important opening weekends. The first weekend, Wild Wild West was in the biggest screen at the cinema, we were given cowboy hats to wear, popcorn boxes had the logo on, Burger King had a range of toys. Back in the day, not all big movies were released globally the same week, sometimes it would take months. In short, Wild Wild West hit the UK in August, more than a month after it tanked in America. So Warner Bros were pushing for the international box office to pick up the slack. It didn’t. By the second weekend, Wild Wild West was in one of the smaller screens before vanishing completely a couple of weeks later. We literally couldn’t give those hats away.