Will Smith’s Biggest Flop Is Streaming For Free Right Now

Will Smith's Wild Wild West is streaming for free on Tubi.

By Charlene Badasie | Updated

will smith wild wild west

Wild Wild West starring Will Smith is currently streaming on Tubi. The steampunk western debuted on the Fox Entertainment-owned free ad-supported service on January 1. The streamer offers thousands of movies and television shows from major studios, along with original content, local and live news, sports, and other entertainment. Other fan-favorite movies featured on the streaming platform include Police Academy, Pearl Harbor, A Time to Kill, Final Destination, The Fifth Element, and more.

Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld from a script by S. S. Wilson, Brent Maddock, Jeffrey Price, and Peter S. Seaman, Wild Wild West is adapted from the 1960s television series created by Michael Garrison. The film follows federal agents James T. West (Will Smith) and Artemus Gordon (Kevin Kline) who are tasked with saving President Ulysses Grant from the diabolical, confederate scientist Doctor Arliss Loveless, who was on the losing side of the Civil War.

While examining the severed head of a scientist named Thaddeus Morton, West (Will Smith) and Gordon (Kevin Kline) finds a clue that leads them to the revenge-driven villain. Upon infiltrating his plantation during a party, the pair rescues Rita Escobar (Salma Hayek), a woman who asks them to help rescue kidnapped scientist Guillermo Escobar who also happens to be her father. Chaos ensues as the trio faces various threats, including a mechanical spider.

Released by Warner Bros. in June 1999 by Warner Bros, Wild Wild West was a financial failure. The Will Smith film only managed to earn $222.1 million at the global box office. The movie also received negative reviews from critics and still holds a pitiful 16 percent rating on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Additionally, the film won five Razzies at the 20th Golden Raspberry Awards, including Worst Picture and Worst Original Song for “Wild Wild West.”

The movie’s flop status came as a surprise since the studio had high hopes for the unconventional western. In 1992, Warner Bros. acquired the film rights to the Michael Garrison series and hired Richard Donner to direct from a screenplay by Shane Black. That version would have starred Mel Gibson as Jim West instead of Will Smith. But after Donner and Gibson exited the project to work on a film adaptation of Maverick in 1994, Tom Cruise was rumored for the lead.

When Cruise ultimately opted to star in Mission: Impossible, discussions with Will Smith and director Barry Sonnenfeld began in February 1997. The studio initially signed George Clooney to co-star as Artemus Gordon, with Kevin Kline, Matthew McConaughey, and Johnny Depp also in consideration. But he dropped out due to creative differences. “Rather than damage this project trying to retrofit the role for me it was better to step aside and let them get someone else,” the actor said via Variety.

Interestingly, Wild Wild West is significantly different from the television series. Kevin Kline plays Gordon, who is similar to the version portrayed by Ross Martin. But the main difference is that he is much more competitive with Will Smith’s Jim West. The 1999 movie also had Gordon create more ridiculous, humorous, and implausible inventions than those created by Martin’s Gordon in the television show.

Additionally, the Will Smith film was inspired by a defunct Superman movie. The revelation was made in 2002 during a fan event featuring Kevin Smith. Speaking to attendees, the filmmaker talked about working with Wild Wild West producer Jon Peters on a Superman film in 1997. He said Peters had three requirements for the script. Superman was not to wear the suit, would not fly, and would fight a giant spider in the third act.

will smith
The giant mechanical spider in Wild Wild West

But the script was eventually scrapped, and the film was never produced. Kevin Smith also noted that when Wild Wild West, starring Will Smith and featuring Peters as producer, was released, the giant mechanical spider appeared in the final act. The Spider Tank is the most destructive weapon created by Loveless. Each of its eight long legs features big gears, while two also boast nitroglycerin cannons at the bottom. The control panel is at the front with a steam hole at the top. Making the film, in its own way, a Superman take.