"Concussion" was released last Christmas, but it was a gift few seemed to want. Will Smith earned a Golden Globe nomination for his role as Dr. Bennet Omalu, the forensic pathologist who fought the NFL to raise awareness about the dangers of football-related head trauma. However, that awareness hasn't spread as wide as Smith hoped. The film only made about $48 million worldwide off a $35 million budget, and not much has changed in the football world in reaction to the film.
"I thought 'Concussion' would have a bigger impact," Smith told Vanity Fair (via The Hollywood Reporter). "I knew it would be hard because people love the game, but the science is so overwhelming, and it's something that we really need to take a look at. ... I thought that people would get behind the mission of that. I was surprised that people were absolutely like, 'Nope, I'm not stopping watching football, so I don't want to know.'"
He shared anecdotal evidence to this effect, describing a meeting with retired four-star General David Petraeus (who oversaw coalition forces in Iraq, then led the CIA). "I saw Petraeus randomly a couple months ago, and he said, 'Listen, I just watched Concussion. My wife made me watch it; I didn't want watch it. I had refused to watch it. That's the best movie you ever made.' That was the first time that someone had actually, specifically said they didn't want the pain of watching it."
Yeah, fans may have seen "Concussion" as a Debbie Downer right before the Super Bowl, like making a movie on how chocolate can be bad for you right before Halloween. No one likes to feel uncomfortable or guilty about liking something, so it's easier to avoid or rationalize. It's not like fans would really boycott football, but Smith probably hoped for a movement to create change in the sport to better protect the players.
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While conducting an autopsy on former NFL football player Mike Webster (David Morse), forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu (Will Smith) discovers neurological deterioration that is similar to Alzheimer's disease. Omalu names the disorder chronic traumatic encephalopathy and publishes his findings in a medical journal. As other athletes face the same diagnosis, the crusading doctor embarks on a mission to raise public awareness about the dangers of football-related head trauma. Read More