In 2006, eight-year-old Jaden appeared alongside his father in the film The Pursuit of Happyness, playing the son of his character Chris Gardner. The film was a hit, with Will receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and Jaden winning an MTV Movie Award for Breakthrough Performance.
The sky seemed to be the limit for Jaden after that. In 2008 he appeared in the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still, and although the film received mixed-to-negative reviews, critics did praise ten-year-old Jaden’s performance. Next up was another remake, The Karate Kid, and the same thing happened: mixed reviews but acclaim for Jaden.
And then disaster struck. Jaden teamed up with his father for another movie, M. Night Shyamalan’s 2013 sci-fi flick After Earth. Critics absolutely mauled it, and it was a financial flop too, only making $60 million back on its $130 million budget. A huge name like Will Smith could survive such a thing, but for the less famous Jaden it was all up in the air.