When the “Men in Black” franchise proved that it still had legs after a strong third outing, it seemed inevitable that Sony would set their eyes on a fourth movie. In fact, a writer was tasked with gig of writing “Men In Black 4” last month. The only real question was who would be returning?
Given that Tommy Lee Jones spent a majority of the third movie in the backseat, while Josh Brolin took over as perpetually grumpy Agent K, it seemed as if he was on his way out. However, while speaking with Collider about his recent movie “After Earth,” Will Smith revealed that he might not want to put the Ray-Bans on again either. “I think three is enough for me. Three of anything is enough for me. We’ll look at it and we’ll consider it, but it feels like that it might be time to let someone else do that,” he said.
With all due respect to Tommy Lee Jones, it’s not hard to imagine the ‘MiB’ franchise surviving his departure. However, take out Will Smith and the future success of the series starts to look a bit more questionable. While Smith’s “After Earth” underperformed this weekend with a gross of $29.7 million on a $130 Million budget, his name generally tends to be a big selling point for audiences. Certainly it wouldn’t be impossible to replace Will Smith, but a ‘MiB’ film without him will face the daunting task of wooing moviegoers back into the theater.
Oren Uziel (“21 Jump Street”) is expected to start work on the script for “Men in Black 4” soon after he finishes working on “21 Jump Street 2.” This will, at least, give Sony a bit of time to prepare for a MiB future without Smith.