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‘Men In Black’ … without Will Smith?

Men In Black

Photo courtesy of Sony/Columbia Pictures

Good and bad news for fans of the Men In Black franchise: the good news is the series will soon see a fourth installment. The bad news is more than likely Will Smith won’t be cast in the film.

In a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter, movie producer Walter Parkes confirms a new film is underway. “We’re in the middle of it. It’s very active,” Parkes says of the movie which is being shaped to be the first part of a second trilogy of films. When asked whether Smith will be involved, Parkes told THR, “Most likely, no.”

The franchise, based on the 1990 comic book series, has done extremely well at the box office, both domestically and internationally. The 1997 premier installment grossed more than $250 million.  The 2002 sequel, which had a bigger opening weekend than it’s predecessor, took in about $190 million worldwide. But it was 2012’s threequel that ended up being the most commercially successful bringing in $179 million stateside, and over $400 million internationally, pushing it past the $600 million mark.

With those kind of numbers it’s no wonder the studio wants to pursue another follow-up whether Smith is on board or not.

Reports indicate that Smith has more serious, Oscar contending projects on his mind such as his heavily buzzed about upcoming film, Concussion, which takes a hard look at the physical effects NFL players face after their playing days are over. Last year, Smith reportedly turned down a chance to reprise his role in a Independence Day sequel, which is the highest grossing film of his career.

As for the Smith-less Men In Black movie, thus far there has been no word if Tommy Lee Jones or Josh Brolin will be involved. The Sony email hacks of last year revealed that the studio had begun discussing a possible crossover Men In Black and 21 Jump Street sequel starring Johan Hill and Channing Tatum.