Will Smith played Chris Gardner, a homeless salesperson, in the 2006 American historical drama film The Pursuit of Happyness, directed by Gabriele Muccino. Jaden Smith, Will’s son, co-stars in the film as Christopher Jr.
Steven Conrad’s screenplay is based on Gardner’s best-selling 2006 book of the same name, which he co-wrote with Quincy Troupe. Gardner’s story is based on his roughly one-year experience as a homeless person. Gardner sees a mural on the wall outside the daycare center where his son attended, which inspired the unique spelling of the film’s title.
Columbia Pictures released the picture on December 15, 2006, to mostly positive reviews, with Smith’s performance receiving widespread acclaim. Smith was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
After an extraordinary national response to an interview he gave with 20/20 in January 2003, Chris Gardner realized his story had Hollywood potential. On May 23, 2006, he released his autobiography, and he later joined the film’s production team as an associate producer.
The movie was the first to open in North America, grossing $27 million in its opening weekend, beating out heavily advertised blockbusters like Eragon and Charlotte’s Web. It was Smith’s sixth straight #1 opening and one of his six straight $100 million blockbusters. In the United States and Canada, the film grossed approximately $163,566,459.