I Am Legend is a 2007 American post-apocalyptic science fiction horror film directed by Francis Lawrence and starring Will Smith. It is the third feature film adaptation of Richard Matheson's 1954 novel of the same name, following 1964's The Last Man on Earth and 1971's The Omega Man. Smith plays virologist Robert Neville, who thinks he may be Earth's only surviving human not affected by a vicious man-made virus. He works to create a cure while living in Manhattan in 2012, a city inhabited by mutant victims of the virus.
Warner Bros. Pictures began developing I Am Legend in 1994, and various actors and directors were attached to the project, though production was delayed due to budgetary concerns related to the script. Production began in 2006 in New York City, filming mainly on location in the city, including a USD$5 million scene at the Brooklyn Bridge, the most expensive scene ever filmed in the city at the time. Warner Bros. launched a tie-in comic and an online multiplayer game on Second Life as part of its marketing campaign. I Am Legend was released on December 14, 2007 in the United States. It opened to the largest ever box office for a non-Christmas film released in the U.S. during December. The film's commercial success "cemented Smith's standing as the number one box office draw in Hollywood." However, Warner Bros was disappointed with this film's performance on the DVD market.
The studio spent an estimated $5 million for a six-night shoot in New York City involving the Brooklyn Bridge. To film in this location, the producers needed the approval of as many as 14 government agencies. The shooting required a crew of 250, plus 1,000 extras, including 160 National Guard troops in full combat gear.
Plants were transported via trucks from Florida to dress up the city streets as if weeds had overtaken them.
All of the paintings in Dr. Neville's house were provided by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
Release prints were delivered to theaters with the fake title 'Blood Allies'.
Will Smith grew so enamored of his canine co-star, Abby, that he tried to adopt her when the shooting was finished, but the dog's trainer could not be persuaded to give her up.
Neville: God didn't do this. We did!
Neville: My name is Robert Neville. I am a survivor living in New York City. I am broadcasting on all AM frequencies. I will be at the South Street Seaport everyday at mid-day, when the sun is highest in the sky. If you are out there... if anyone is out there... I can provide food, I can provide shelter, I can provide security. If there's anybody out there... anybody... please. You are not alone.
Anna: In 2009, a deadly virus burned through our civilization, pushing humankind to the edge of extinction. Dr. Robert Neville dedicated his life to the discovery of a cure and the restoration of humanity. On September 9th, 2012, at approximately 8:49 P.M., he discovered that cure. And at 8:52, he gave his life to defend it. We are his legacy. This is his legend. Light up the darkness.
GOOFS AND BLUNDERS
When Robert Neville is about to enter the dark are to chase after Sam, and as he is swinging his gun from side to side, for a split second, a camera's shadow can be seen sweeping towards the left as he is doing so.
When Neville is in the dark warehouse looking for Sam, he enters a bathroom. When his flashlight hits a mirror, he ducks and shields the light, but there is still a circle of light from the camera behind him.
Trouble enters only when the script overcomplicates things in the end. Until then, especially in a growling dogfight, director Francis Lawrence (Constantine) keeps you squirming. Reviewed by: Peter Travers of Rolling Stone.
After its promising opening, I Am Legend devolves into a generic zombie slaughterfest. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey of The Globe and Mail (Toronto).
Matheson's bitterly ironic ending -- which pivots on the nature of Neville's legend -- is gutted and turned into formulaic pap. Reviewed by: Maitland McDonagh TV Guide.