3 Reasons Why ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ Bombed at the U.S. Box Office

'Independence Day: Resurgence': Why It Bombed
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Independence Day: Resurgence” didn’t set off any early fireworks at the U.S. box office over the weekend. The sequel to the 1996 hit (the highest-grossing movie of its year) only opened with $41.6 million. To put things into perspective, the original “Independence Day” kicked off to $50.2 million, back when tickets were less than half of what they are priced at now. But executives at Fox might not be sweating too much, since “Resurgence” (which cost $165 million) did much better internationally with a tally of $102.1 million abroad. In China, it scored an impressive $37.3 million debut.

Still, it’s troubling for Hollywood that the sequel named after a patriotic summer holiday wouldn’t generate more interest among U.S. ticket buyers. Here are three reasons why “Resurgence” suffered at home.

1. The Sequel Needed Will Smith
The original “Independence Day” kicked off Smith’s career as a major box office draw, a status that he enjoyed for 15 years with mega hits such as the “Men in Black” series, “Hancock,” “I, Robot” and “The Pursuit of Happyness.” Smith bailed on “Resurgence,” after the studio reportedly turned down his demand for a $50 million paycheck to crank out two sequels in a row. His casting would have inevitably fueled nostalgia among millennials who recalled seeing him in the first movie 20 years ago, even if Smith’s box office track record has been wobbly lately. On the other hand, adding Liam Hemsworth to the cast may have helped the movie’s international take — he’s Australian and global audiences are familiar with him from “The Hunger Games.” But in the United States, Liam and his older brother Chris (who plays Thor in the Marvel superhero movies) have been less successful at carrying movies on their own.

2. Apocalypse Fatigue
When the original “Independence Day” opened, the idea of aliens blowing up the White House was a novel conceit. Now every blockbuster banks on apocalyptical themes. Just this year, the world was blown up in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “X-Men: Apocalypse,” not to mention that director Roland Emmerich has turned mass devastation into part of his brand with projects like “The Day After Tomorrow” and “2012.” To U.S. viewers still reeling from a national tragedy like the Orlando shooting, all this destruction might not still seem like escapist entertainment anymore.

3. Audiences Are Getting Smarter About Sequels
With the quality of TV on the rise, audiences are showing a pushback this year against sequels that seem to only be made for financial gain. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,” “Alice Through the Looking Glass” and “The Divergent Series: Allegiant” all underperformed badly after getting hit with negative reviews. Fox’s decision not to screen “Resurgence” early to critics was a sign that the tentpole was going to be a dud. As a result, most multiplex-goers splurged on “Finding Dory” instead. 

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 125

Leave a Reply

125 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Jeff Feezle says:

    What was the suspense? We’ve seen the aliens, we’ve been inside their ships, we piloted their individual ships, they’ve blown up major cities before, the US has to save the world, they had to go kamikaze going inside the ship to save the day in both movies. There was no ‘there’ there.

    Any good story has to have an air of mystery, something to look forward to: a mystery to solve; something not seen, that makes the audience anxious to see when the big ‘reveal’ is. To me, the problem of Indp. Day II was storytelling, or lack of basic mechanics that make a classic novel, a classic novel.

    In Indp. II, they tried to create those mechanics with 2 elements: CGI graphics and action. The Orb had basically no effect upon the whole movie. No suspense there. Huge plot hole. And why would David drive a bus load of kids RIGHT UP to the monster herself, only to have to back away at the ….gasp…last second to avoid being smashed. C’mon Hollywood….these are just cheap gimmicks, like having the President pilot the decoy ship, to put a major character in danger to create false suspense.

    If they really want to sell a 3rd installment: i have one suggestion: get a serious fiction novel writer with chops, to write the way a classic novel should be written. Otherwise, more of the same in Indp III.

  2. Geralt says:

    I’ll pay $12 or so to go see a movie on a giant screen….. I won’t pay $6 for a SMALL soda and $6.50 for a SMALL popcorn equal to a $1 bag you can stick in the microwave….. so unless it’s star wars or something, I wait till it’s on TV or whatever.

  3. inf357ed says:

    In my opinion (as the author of this article should have mentioned) the mast majority who did not like this movie are the type who think reality TV is actuality .. If you have a debate with those who watch a lot of reality TV, they will not only deny but defend that those types of shows, no matter how realistic, is scripted.

    I agree with the several comments stating that one of the downfalls of this movie was lack of advertising and also due to instant streaming or ‘bootlegging’. I just wish people would accept Hollywood magic again and ‘The Big Screen’ instead of trying to cheat and find a poor bootleg just to save $10.

  4. ctuna says:

    Yep 10 dollars plus to go to a movie now and a small popcorn and drink for 12 bucks to add to the is insulting. If I stay home and watch it on my 55 inch with and avr and 7 speakers I can hit pause when I have to pee and popcorn and a drink costs may 1 to 2 dollars.

  5. Mike says:

    If you’re a true sci-fi and Independence Day fan than you would just love it and go along for the ride. I thought it was great and you should support these types of movies on the big screen if you want to see more of them. Otherwise all we’ll see is silly romcoms and dramas. There’s enough drama in real life so we don’t want more of those on the big screen. Support these movies or suffer the consequence of having nothing.

  6. Cory says:

    Only three reasons why this movie bombed at the box office? I can name a few other reasons. If this took place 20 years later which would make the sequel to the place in 2016, why are they showing flying spaceships when we clearly don’t have anything like that in this day and age?

    Way too much CGI which seems to be very common with movies nowadays. Computer animated images that always look fake on film. Independence Day 2 put the audience to sleep, it just didn’t have the star power the first film had. Some kind of alien ball that speaks English like a human that supposed to be the aliens enemy and our ally I thought was really cheesy and kind a dumb.

    Overall this movie is just a renter. It seems the sequels nowadays is really disappointing . Iron Man 1 and 2 was really good, Iron Man three way to exaggerated and just plain dumb in my opinion.. same with the second Independence Day

    • Frank says:

      Well, they have adapted the Alien’s technology, as stated in the opening scenes of the movie advancing the human race hundreds of years. Also the Alien Ally was on a quest to find others and build a galactic coalition against the bad ones. Of course it can speak english, as stated also in the movie. Our language is primitive and easily adopted.

      Is it strange for us to go to a third world country and learn the native tongue, same scenario, except they are FAR FAR more advanced.

      I thought the movie was entertaining and worth my 12 dollars, I forgot about real life for 2 hours. Was it the best movie ever? No. Do I expect every Sci-fi movie to be amazing? NO. Star Wars is as far from reality as any other Sci-fi yet we roll with it, it is fantasy and THAT is what movies are for. A distraction.

  7. Elevor says:

    I my opinion, the main reason it was not that succesful are misplaced gags. A common problem in quite some movies.

    One example. The world gets destroyed the cast flees on a ship, and one of them says “Are we already dead?”

    you should be rather shocked in a scenario like this and not making bad jokes.

    And also a bit to much hazards.

    I’am pretty sure if the changed maybe 5 minuted of the film, or just cut them out, ratings would be much better.

  8. Great Spfx I bet but from what people are saying little else:(

  9. Late to the party says:

    Will might have added some charisma but what this movie really need was, you know, like, a story. Audiences are getting smarter; we require actual stories now with a 20 dollar ticket purchase.

  10. Andrei says:

    The script was poor. In my opinion that was the reason for less performance and revenues not will smith’s absence I’m a fan of the first part. It was amasing for its time. This is a poorly made copy/paste with some messed up mods and lacking focus and originality. The only problem with this part of movie is the scenario. You can do a very good sequel even without the original actors but not with an scenario like this. Last years unfortunately bring us only almost retarded movies like they are putting chimps to write the scripts or the hollywod consider us dumb

  11. Gattoka says:

    The writer of this article should be fired for clearly being a dumbass. The one and only reason this movie didn’t make it big is bc lack of advertising -no one had a clue as to when it was even out. Fuck Will Smith -it had plenty of right talent… And fuck whatever other nonsense this article said -makes no sense and can be proved up and down all day. Seriously, hire some people that use their brains. Peace

  12. Fithian says:

    I also think having James Woods as a writer was a bad idea. He’s better at games, not movies.

  13. Do you suppose that just maybe the ticket prices and the prices at the snack bar being over twice what they were when the original came out might have had some bearing on the sequel bringing in under half what the original did in its opening weekend? Price anything above what the customers feel it is worth and they won’t buy.

  14. Khotso Mapetla says:

    Just watched the movie a few min ago and I found it a great movie even without Smith…

  15. anthony says:

    couldn’t even get the reason why Will Smith wasn’t in the movie correct. good article *sarcasm*

  16. Dean Berman says:

    Bullet #1, I could see that as being a possible issue, but bringing back Goldblum and Pullman was all the nostalgia we needed to make it a great movie. Not having Will Smith in this sequel wasn’t a big deal at all. Bullet #2 and #3 make no sense at all. People want to be entertained and go to the movies so we don’t have to think about the problems surrounding us. And bringing up the TMNT and Divergent sequels are horrible examples. The first TMNT was bad, and the other Divergent sequels were bad too. These movies have nothing in common with the ID4 sequel except for the fact they are all movies.

  17. Craig A Neumann says:

    NO WILL SMITH ….. NO MOVIE! IT’S THAT SIMPLE.

  18. Gwen Leonard says:

    I truly thought that “Independence Day: Resurgence” was a truly awesome movie in a lot of ways. And, if Will Smith really wanted to be a part of the film and its sequel, then he should have lowered his pay rate below the $50 million mark. Because it is not always about getting paid a lot of money to do a movie. It is about telling a good story and showing what you can do to bring to the table in order to get that story told and also help the rest of the cast of that movie tell that story and shine in the process. I very deeply believe that Will Smith’s absence from the film was a good thing and it actually made the story even better as a result. Movie critics and diehard fans of Will Smith who hugely criticized the film should realize that making a good story come to life is not always about having a huge star like Smith be in the film. It is about working together with a group of people as a team to bring life to a beautiful story.

    • joe says:

      Honestly I’m not a will smith fan boy or anything but it would of made the movie if he was in it. If you think about it the whole movie would of had to be rewritten to allow his character to star in it. People like his son wouldn’t be in it like that. And I would of loved to see will smith kick the aliens butt but instead that didn’t happen. He wanted 25 mill for this one and he can command high prices after all his an A list actor. If they didn’t include him like they did, they would of had to come up with a better story line but even then with lesser known actors it was hard to pull off. If I was making this film I would of paid him 25 million hell if it would make the movie why not.

  19. meiray says:

    Really incisive insights, here.

  20. Tasmania says:

    It should of have had Will Smith the actual and only star

  21. Bill says:

    Will Smith was a non-issue.

    A plot line would have been good, though.

    Being nothing more than a setup for Independence Day 3 would have been even better.

    Go re-watch the original – you cared about these people and what happened to them.

    I can’t say that was true about any part of the sequel; if I hadn’t seen the original I may well have been rooting for the aliens to wipe these morose self-important idiots off the map.

    Really the only decent performances were by Bill Pullman’s returning President and Brent Spiner, as usual, getting the comedy/drama line just right.

    Mae Whitman and Margaret Colin must be thanking their lucky stars they had nothing to do with this film.

  22. Caligula says:

    Liam “no talent-only gets movies because his bro is famous” Hemsworte has ZERO charisma-same with the dude playing Will’s son. And a messy plot that is literally all over the place-and that ending-my god-a queen? awful!!!

  23. Robert Mark says:

    If you’re going to sequel then reuse your main talent. Will Smith even has a mini-me for a sequel. It was a dumb call and the FOX paid the price of stupidity – bad BO.

  24. Ian says:

    When I saw the IMDb audience score was 5.9/10 from just over 7000 people a couple of days after ID Resurgence had released, I changed my mind and decided to wait til it’s on demand rather than see it in a theatre. If it had scored 7.0/10 or better I would have probably shelled out to see it.

  25. jo says:

    honestly anyone who acts like will smith wasnt a huge part of the success in the first one is wrong. he WAS the star of independence day. so they should have paid him the money like you would any other A lister.
    putting him in this movie would have gotten many people on the fence to go see this movie purely out of nostalgia.

    • Caligula says:

      nope-the EFFECTS were the stars and the straightforward story-Will isn’t a draw anymore-people are tired of him after hes been forcing his no talent kids on us!

      • mikecapri says:

        Lol who’s Will Smith. Jeff Goldblum is much better

      • hammeru8989 says:

        Exactly, he wanted his son to play a big part in the film as well and they said pound sand The chemistry of all the previous cast was the big win for the first one. Not ‘just’ Will Smith.

      • Mimi says:

        Speak for yourself. Nobody in my household had any interest in watching Independence Day without Will Smith.You dont make a sequel and cut out the man most heavily associated with that film. 50m for two sequels was more than reasonable given the stakes. Idiotic.

  26. Just not a good movie period, the first one you can watch over and over, the second one you will never watch again, in fact I watched it as a double feature and the Shallows was way better, theatres already cleaning this one out and reduced screens bigtime. I am worried Tarzan will match the reviews as well but I want to see it and the purge this weekend, purge has good reviews!

    • mikecapri says:

      I’ve seen ID2 about 6 times now and still find it enjoyable. I wish there were more of these Sci-fi movies but all the criticizing w@nkers out there put them down so much that we don’t get many. I just watched Passengers and that was meh. I prefer sci-fi action and ID2 was fine.

  27. Mark says:

    The first move was great because it had whit and suspense but this movie didn’t have much of any of that but plenty of bad acting and little story line or buildup. The queen being huge was bizarre to say the least. The many individual short story lines of the characters were shallow and the movie didn’t flow well because of this, constantly jumping around to different people. It was disappointing to be honest, i just hope they pull there socks up for the next one. Better writers please and better acting (directing). The CGI on the other hand was amazing.

  28. the movie would definitely have a 3rd sequal but
    if you look at how many years it took to make this second sequal
    the 3rd probably wouldn’t be for a long time

    cinema tickets alone is not how they make money..they make money through selling dvd’s and blueray and merchandise related material about the movie

    the movie will pay for it’s self just not in the first month

    they probably will wait till this movie makes enough from merchandice before making a 3rd and final

  29. Dr Utonium says:

    Upon exiting the cinema I thought this movie was ridiculous, utterly absurd and served with an excess of cheese – which is exactly what I thought when I saw the first one. And I enjoyed them both. The difference is that this piece of pure popcorn is a *modern* summer blockbuster and the most important thing it highlights is how those have changed in the last 20 years. It’s riddled with even more ridiculousness, it’s infinitely more dependent on special effects, there are more absurd and convenient plot points, the characters are less interesting and it features an edgy youth element, with bullet-proof bros and subtly sexy chicks. The character of Dead Meat (played by Harry Connick Jr in the original) has all but gone.
    I still enjoyed it…but any newspaper or magazine that criticizes this and then raves about equally absurd sequels, prequels, reboots or remakes (just like the new Ghostbusters movie, for example) is hypocritical and should be reminded that Resurgence, just like all the others, is a sign of the times.

  30. This film looked like a sequel to Roland’ Emmerich’s 2012 with a very weak story.There was nothing which the audience haven’t seen in movies like Battle Los Angles,The Avengers.This has nothing to do with Will Smith as he would not have been able to save it.I felt the film was rushed…

  31. al ruthers says:

    Don’t forget the lefty politics smothered throughout this shit show. Horrible movie.

    • gummibiscuit says:

      Al Ruthers’s post brings up another thing that has changed in twenty years. People are hypersensitive, pseudo-savvy about political matters, and think everything has an agenda like “lefty politics” or “right-wing agenda.”

  32. richard melendez says:

    will smith could not have saved this movie. unfortunately the acting was b rated. the comedy was not necessary. they had 20 years since the first movie and the story just wasn’t good. I really wanted the movie to be good. ended up like a b grade made for sci-fi tv movie at best

    • Kevin Nash says:

      You mean like the original…?
      Pretty sure ‘B-Grade Sci-Fi’ is exactly the feeling they’re going for.

  33. Ariela says:

    I didn’t go see the movie because Will Smith wasn’t reprising his role. Who does a sequel without the main character??? They should have given Will the money he asked for like they would have any other “A” lister, and stop trying to downplay his talent and importance in the industry! Star power apparently DOES matter!

  34. yo mtv flaps says:

    reviews

  35. Paul says:

    The people from the 1st ID4 who came back for this are perfect example of actors who never had a back up plan to their acting career. Gen. William Grey was so old, they had to prop him up during in the 20 yr celebration of the victory, poor guy. Guess ID4 saved Will Smith’s career…twice.

    • Bill says:

      Are you serious?

      Perhaps you don’t know that Robert Loggia was weeks away from dying from Alzheimers yet the filmmakers included him.

  36. Jacques Strappe says:

    4th (and most important) reason: It sucks. Like Depp, Will Smith isn’t a big draw anymore so his presence would not have increased box office receipts.

    • Ariela says:

      Right…..that’s what the studios bank on and that’s why their movie didn’t beat out “Finding Dory”! The ONE person in my office said to wait until it’s on DEMAND. So…..I guess the other “stars” in the movie, including Hemsworth, aren’t “big” draws either.

  37. I’m not sure where the person who wrote this thinks it “tanked”. $40 million for 3 days is pretty good as far as I’m concerned. I thought the movie was done quite well. It wasn’t the same old rehashed crap that so many sequels are. Yes I would have liked to have seen Will Smith in it, but the movie was still excellent without him.

    • The Chad says:

      $40 million for opening weekend is pretty good? Let me give some perspective. The first Independance Day film opened at $80 million and that was 20 years ago. Finding Dory opening weekend was $135 million. Civil War, $180 million, Star Was 7, $248 million. $40 million is terrible for a tent pole summer movie that had a budget of $165 million not including promotion. Foreign sales are the only thing what will save face for Fox.

      • Steve Bowden says:

        First Independence day was hyped to the max. Crowds were not saturated with such things. So, yeah.
        Finding dory, great, take your kids, who cares if you like it, it’s for the kids. So, yeah.
        Civil War, great for people into that cultish comic series. Lots of cosplay fanbois, So yeah.
        Star Wars… Read the last point. So, yeah.

        A sequel to a good movie, that I found was just as good, in that it delivered that final satisfaction, and even still promises another follow up? I don’t think you’re taking things into consideration.

        *Doh, cocaine is more addictive than Gatorade, so cocaine is better because it’s more profitable*

        So, yeah.

    • Hoss says:

      How about they should have released it closer to the actual holiday?

  38. There is only simple reason: the movie is terrible! If all these movies were good then audiences would follow. But they aren’t and ID2 is just a money grabing piece of crap.

  39. James Robert says:

    It’s sequel fatigue for sure. Liam Hemsworth is smoking hot and still it bombed.
    I think unless you have these Marvel characters in a sequel, it just doesn’t warrant any interest.

    • Caligula says:

      Liam is attractive, but not a good actor-the ONLY movies with him in it that are successful are Hunger Games, which would be hits with ANY actors. Hes just a handsome prop-like Armie Hammer -wont be seeing him much more after this

  40. Jay! says:

    It was on my radar until the unfortunate reveal of Mr. Data in the trailer last week. C’mon. He’s dead. This isn’t what happened in the last movie! Have you all got amnesia? They just cheated us! This isn’t fair! HE GOT MURDERED BY THE COCK-A-DOODIE ALIEN!

    Thx,

    Jay!

  41. Dr3yec says:

    I do everything in my power to not support pedophile hollyoood. So didn’t make any money off of me.

  42. Kev. says:

    I will see it in two weeks when my schedule allows, I pre-ordered mine 3D Blu-Ray already. My friend loved it and I can’t wait to see it.

    • David Knowles says:

      I’m looking forward to see how much was cut in the extended edition. I suspect a fair bit end up not being included in the movie.

  43. IT--II--IT says:

    WHO NEEDED IT ?

    – – –BULLLEH– — –

  44. floris says:

    Heavens Gate….Ishtar…Poseidon…..

  45. Jimmy Green says:

    I really enjoyed it. It didn’t need Mr Smith… Hemsworth is 1000000X better looking 😊.

  46. Gage says:

    Movie was absolutely terrible. Any movie with either of those talentless Hemsworth brothers is usually garbage.

  47. nathiest says:

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows was fun. Sheeple are stupid for letting critics dictate what they should and should not like in a film.

    • jakej says:

      Yes, they should let Variety comment sections dictate what they should and should not like in a film. People didn’t let critics dictate anything; they didn’t want to see the movie in the first place.

  48. Richard says:

    The film did not need Will Smith, he ruined the first film with his ridiculous dialogue. The film has not run the holiday weekend yet so your article is premature to accurately gauge data. Let’s review the box office data next week. The film was not based a brilliant clever script, it was a mindless fun ride made for 4th of July weekend–it’s a summer action tent pole. I enjoyed it for what it was.

    • Ariela says:

      Uh, yeah it did need Will. The numbers don’t lie and apparently star power DOES matter.

      • David Knowles says:

        I very much doubt the film would have added what 100 million to it total to be wealth the 50 million Will Smith was asking for. An a 210 million dollar sequel film would have been incredibly risky undertaking. As it is it look like they will break a profit on this one. They might not have if they spent 210 on the film plus marketing.

    • Ed says:

      No again

  49. The film was junk. That is why it was a bomb. It was poorly written, with very little plot, very little point to it, and dialogue that was cringe worthy. Did they even have a script, or did they just use a chewing gum wrapper? They had a major Chinese actress at their disposal, and barely used her, choosing to make her just a pretty face, while trying to appeal to every demographic known to mankind. Total trash.

More Film News from Variety

Loading