Will Smith on why you can't get away with making bad movies anymore, how viewers changed the system

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Jun 28, 2016, 12:59 PM EDT

It doesn’t seem like it's been that long, but Will Smith has been cranking out blockbusters (and would-be blockbusters) for two decades. So, how has the system changed since flicks like Independence Day blew up the box office?

Smith recently participated in a Cannes Lions panel and discussed the evolution of the moviegoing process. He mirrored it back on his own career and touched on one of the more high-profile duds on his early resume in Wild Wild West. Back in the day, Smith said you could ride a marketing campaign to sell a crummy movie to decent box-office success. But now social media and viewer savvy have completely changed the game.

Here’s an excerpt from his comments via The Hollywood Reporter:

“I had so much success that I started to taste global blood and my focus shifted from my artistry to winning. I wanted to win and be the biggest movie star, and what happened was there was a lag — around Wild Wild West time — I found myself promoting something because I wanted to win versus promoting something because I believed in it…

Smoke and mirrors in marketing and sales is over. People are going to know really quickly and globally whether a product keeps its promises. I consider myself a marketer. My career has been strictly being able to sell my products globally, and it’s now in the hand of fans. I have to be in tune with their needs and not trick them into going to see Wild Wild West…

Back in the ’80s and ’90s you had a piece of crap movie you put a trailer with a lot of explosions and it was Wednesday before people knew your movie was shit. But now what happens is 10 minutes into the movie, people are tweeting ‘This is shit, go see Vin Diesel’. It’s funny to go sit in a meeting in Hollywood now. It’s a new idea that we have to make good movies.”

It’s interesting to see the perspective Smith has on the business, since he’s the closest thing to Hollywood royalty there is out there. Plus, along with his ample hits, Smith has also been a part of some high-profile bombs (*cough*After Earth*cough*).

What’s your take on Smith’s perspective?

(Via The Hollywood Reporter)