This year involves the long-awaited return of a number of film franchises. However, perhaps the most high-profile of them all is Independence Day: Resurgence. Coming a full two decades after its predecessor, the new film reunites original cast members like Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman — alongside newcomers like Liam Hemsworth and Maika Monroe — to avert another alien invasion.
However, it remains to be seen if Roland Emmerich’s film can tap into nostalgia as well as last year’s monster hit, Jurassic World. Much like Jurassic Park, the original Independence Day was a box-office behemoth, earning $817 million worldwide in a time when such numbers were truly astounding and not the regular gross for every self-respecting blockbuster.
The iconic image of the White House exploding still remains iconic, and the film’s ensemble cast felt like a throwback to disaster films like The Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure. Yet, if Independence Day: Resurgence hopes to achieve Jurassic World-level success, it has a number of obstacles to overcome first.
Setting aside the divisive quality of Jurassic World, that film largely coasts on the classic status of Steven Spielberg’s 1993 original film, which is still considered one of the most visually stunning movies of the decade and a fun popcorn film with some big ideas behind it.
Conversely, Independence Day hasn’t aged nearly as well. Emmerich’s film received far more mixed critical notices upon its original release. Today, it is considered just as cheesy as it is fun. Sure, the visual effects and action are great, but much of the film wallows in self-seriousness, a tone unbefitting the story at hand in the eyes of many.
Plus, there’s the fact that the central appeal of the first Independence Day — the spectacle of global landmarks in ruin — doesn’t have nearly as much novelty as it did 20 years ago. Now, nearly every action extravaganza features the destruction of a major city.
Straight-up disaster films like last year’s San Andreas — which brought in just $155 domestically against a $110 million production budget — are failing to rein in audiences like they used to. At least Jurassic World had the promise of dinosaurs (with more teeth!) to keep fans interested. After all, the appeal was never limited strictly to the original film’s cast.
If the destruction of Independence Day: Resurgence isn’t enough to make a mark at the box office, the film may have to rely on its cast to impress. Unfortunately, audiences may be disappointed in this respect as well.
Sure, Goldblum — who, interestingly, starred in both Jurassic Park and Independence Day — is back, as are Pullman, Vivica A. Fox, Judd Hirsch, and Brent Spiner. However, the absence of Will Smith will be hard for some fans to get behind. The original film was the breakout role that made Smith a huge star. Audiences hoping or expecting to see him back may be sorely disappointed that the most memorable character from the predecessor isn’t back for a second ride.
Could Independence Day: Resurgence strike enough of a chord with moviegoers to break the $1 billion mark? It’s certainly possible, but it’s far more likely that Emmerich’s sequel will reinvigorate the franchise in the same way as Jurassic World. Perhaps it’s simply the changing times, the legacy of their respective franchises, or the fact that dinosaurs will never not be fun to watch.
Whatever the case may be, it’ll certainly be interesting to see how moviegoers react when Independence Day: Resurgence blasts into theaters on June 24.
Follow Robert Yaniz Jr. on Twitter @CrookedTable
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