When the original Independence Day hit our screens in 1996, it was something of a watershed moment in blockbuster cinema. It was a masterful blend of big budget, big spectacle and big hype. The trailers showing a level of technical F/X we had never seen before, destroying global landmarks while updating classic 1950s alien invasion tropes created a must-see, big-screen event.
$817 million worldwide off a $75 million budget mean the studio were happy. Good reviews followed and a whole genre was reignited with big budget and F/X heavy disaster movies springing up all over the place, including quite a few from Emmerich himself.
Twenty years is a long time to wait for a sequel and by the time Independence Day: Resurgence rolled out we had seen it all before. In fact, maybe we had grown weary of what it was offering. The film came and went at the box-office making only $389 million from a $165 million budget.
The movie left a cliffhanger in which they had become aware of other alien races that had suffered at the hands of the invaders. Humanity had been offered a leading role in the mission to take the fight to the invaders home planet to stop their intergalactic rampage. This basis for a third movie is now dead.
Not only did the audience have reservations about an Independence Day sequel, so did Emmerich. He says he had a change of direction forced on him by circumstances and that kicked him off course:
“I just wanted to make a movie exactly like the first, but then in the middle of production Will (Smith) opted out because he wanted to do ‘Suicide Squad’.
“I should have stopped making the movie because we had a much better script, then I had to really fast, cobble another script together. I should have just said no because all of a sudden I was making something I criticized myself: a sequel.”
Producer Dean Devlin said last year:
“Currently, I personally have no plans of doing another one.”
So things don’t sound promising. But things can change pretty fast in Hollywood so never say never.