Will Smith's Can't-Miss Formula for Blockbuster Movies

Just look at all the science fiction movies Will Smith has starred in over the past dozen years. Is it because he's a fan? No, it's just because he's figured out the ultimate formula for a hit movie, and that just happens to involve science fiction.

At the start of his career, Smith sat down and analyzed the most successful movies of all time and tried to copy them, he told Time Magazine:

"I said, 'I want to be the biggest movie star in the world.'" Lassiter, seeing promise that few others in Hollywood would, took his friend seriously and found a list of the 10 top-grossing movies of all time. "We looked at them and said, O.K., what are the patterns?" Smith recalls. "We realized that 10 out of 10 had special effects. Nine out of 10 had special effects with creatures. Eight out of 10 had special effects with creatures and a love story."

Once Smith had the formula for a hit movie, he started applying it with gusto, leading to Independence Day, Men In Black, Wild Wild West and i robot. After few years away, he's hitting the sci-fi cash register again, with I Am Legend, which comes out next week.

He says Legend is a fall movie, not a summer movie — meaning it's not just "things that happen," but "people responding to things that happen." He also stars in next summer's Hancock, about a has-been superhero who has an affair with his publicist's wife.