Box Office: ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ No Match for ‘Finding Dory’

Independence Day: Resurgence
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Twenty years ago audiences turned out in movie theaters in droves to see aliens torch several national landmarks. Powered by a series of catchy ads and posters that showed the White House engulfed in flames as a spaceship hovered overhead, “Independence Day” was the film to see in the summer of 1996. It blew past other hits such as “Twister” and “Mission: Impossible” to become the year’s highest-grossing film, established Roland Emmerich as his era’s “Master of Disaster,” and made Will Smith a star.

Now, the aliens are back in “Independence Day: Resurgence.” For many moviegoers the first film remains the embodiment of blockbuster entertainment, but there’s no denying the fact that in the years since we first made contact, tastes have changed. Superhero movies are now the driving force at the box office. The question is, will moviegoers still show up in force for a movie without a costumed hero?

Right now, Fox, the studio orchestrating the invasion, is banking on an opening of $50 million when it hits theaters on Friday. It’s a solid start, but it won’t be enough to displace “Finding Dory” from the top of the box office heap. The Disney smash is looking at a second weekend of roughly $70 million after it shattered records for an animated film debut, opening at $135.1 million.

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Finding Dory

‘Finding Dory’: 5 Reasons the Pixar Sequel Smashed Records

Fox spent a hefty $165 million to get the flying saucers out of dry dock and will launch the picture across 4,067 locations. Smith did not return for the sequel, but Emmerich is once again in the directing chair. He brought back original cast members such as Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman, and added newcomers such as Liam Hemsworth and Jessie Usher to the mix. The monuments getting atomized have also changed. This time Big Ben gets the White House treatment.

It’s shaping up to be a crowded weekend at the multiplexes, with four new wide releases entering the fray. “Free State of Jones” will try to bolster mainstream cinema’s IQ level a few points when it debuts on Friday at 2,815 locations. The historical drama about a Southern farmer (Matthew McConaughey) who leads an armed rebellion against the Confederacy is a big bet by STX Entertainment, a newly launched studio that hopes to make the kind of mid-budget films that major studios have largely abandoned in favor of comic book movies. It cost $50 million to make and will try to prove that there’s an audience for dramas in the height of popcorn season. The studio did defray some of its risk on the film, bringing in a number financial partners, including IM Global, which will handle international rights for the picture. “Free State of Jones” should bow to roughly $12 million domestically.

Sony will counter with “The Shallows.” Just as “Independence Day: Resurgence” seems like a throwback to the days of Irwin Allen, the film, which pits Blake Lively against a shark, calls to mind another ’70s era hit, “Jaws.” “The Shallows” is a much smaller gamble, however, with the potential for more modest rewards. It carries a $17 million price tag and is looking at an opening of $7 million when it debuts on roughly 2,800 screens. The film is one of the first greenlit under Tom Rothman, Sony’s new film chief, after he took over the studio in 2015.

Lastly, Amazon Studios will offer up “The Neon Demon,” Nicolas Winding Refn’s blood-splattered look at the world of fashion. The horror film debuted to mixed notices in Cannes, with some critics digging the fever dream atmosphere, and other reviewers finding it to be a forgettable strut down the runway. Broad Green will handle the theatrical rollout. “The Neon Demon” should debut to between $2 million to $3 million in more than 700 theaters.

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  1. Shandy says:

    No surprise, eh? ;p Yeah, I’ve got just enough interest in most of the superhero/Star Wars movies and “Independence Day” blockbuster hopefuls to rent them from Netflix. Because I just anticipate the same stuff over and over and over again, and it gets to be so “…okay?” FD, on the other hand, is my single 100%-must-see-in-the-theater of the year because I’ve been dying for more Nemo for over 13 years now. The combination of my fish-geekery and adoration of animation, animals, & animated animals makes these films feel like personal gifts to me. There was an annoying group of noisy teen idiots who seemed to think they were at home instead of in a public place, and seemed to know when to expect the big laughs and the cute moments…yet left with most of the audience during the early credits! HAH! How did they not know you’re supposed to stay ’til the very end because there’s more to be seen?! Welp, their loss–it was nice watching the last bit in peace. >;] Awesome film.

  2. Fake Out Films , inc. says:

    This weekend is going to be a huge fail for new films. Independence Day :Resurgence is so bad they aren’t even allowing Americans movie critics to review it before it opens. It’s bad timing for Free State of Jones. The Shallows looks like an empty and heart-less quick cash grab for shark entertainment week. All of these films will fade quickly as The Summer of Flops adds 3 new films. People will find better things to do with friends than to blow their money on so-so movies.

  3. VINNY says:

    Independence Resurgence looks like hot garbage to me and trying to drum up the same beats as the first film – which is the new trend in Hollywood when they do sequels to movies that are decades old.

  4. harry georgatos says:

    Unfortunately I was persuaded by Variety’s favorable review to INDEPENDENCE DAY : RESURGENCE and gave this film the benefit of the doubt and watch it on opening day. Last time I listen to what Variety classify as skilled reviews. They’re absolutely clueless!! This film stinks and is as much mindless disposable rubbish as the first film! A disposable film for a disposable junk food culture! Fox will be banking on another cinematic junk food culture when it comes to the big bucks in China with Asian cast members in the film for that all important Chinese dollar! You have been warned, stay away at all cost unless you’re a ten year old kid addicted to a bombardment of computer visual effects drawings that is this sugar-infested film without anything beneficial whatsoever!

  5. millerfilm says:

    Any Pixar movie is going to be packed with children! That’s why I never see them in the theater. And, it usually isn’t the children. It’s the parents who are the obnoxious ones!

    • Berke Zane says:

      I think you’re the kind of dude the studios don’t really care about anyway. You don’t go to see animations because they’re PACKED CHILDREN. But it’s usually not the children, but THE PARENTS ARE THE OBNOXIOUS ONES. You are one fickle dude. That’s why they stopped making movies for your ilk.

    • Don't Mind Me Now says:

      Really? Because my Finding Dory screening was nothing but 17-25 year olds. Pretty nice audience actually. Perhaps (assuming you want to see it at all) try a late night screening. I doubt many parents are dragging their kids to an after-9pm show. (If cost is a concern, a lot of theaters have “cheap Tuesdays”.)

      • millerfilm says:

        Well, you’re lucky! One of the times I went to see “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was like that. One chillun was kicking my seat, till I had to raise my voice to his useless mother to get it to stop. And no, there’s no way I’m paying evening prices to see any of the stuff that comes out these days!

  6. Athena says:

    “Free State of Jones” will try to bolster mainstream cinema’s IQ level a few points when it debuts on Friday at 2,815 locations”

    Seriously? Was this necessary? First, this was just a petty blow at casual moviegoers and I doubt a singular movie will make any individual somehow more cultured or intellectual. Second, this movie is getting slammed by critics, so I doubt this assertion has any validity if there was any in the first place.

  7. maxmolinaro says:

    “”Free State of Jones” will try to bolster mainstream cinema’s IQ level a few points”

    Will it really though? It’s being massacred by critics and seems posed to be noting more than a failed attempt at gimcrack Oscar bait

  8. LOL says:

    America will venerate crap, as usual.

    Better and more cerebrally inclined option may be to stay home and read a challenging book instead. Perhaps even eat a salad this weekend. Spoil yourself.

  9. cadavra says:

    Again, it’s worth noting that when ID4 came out, there hadn’t been an all-out alien-invasion movie from a major studio in decades. Since then, we’ve been inundated with them; the novelty is long gone.

    • EricJ says:

      There hadn’t really been a blockbuster either. (Well, at least one that didn’t come from an established Spielberg or Cameron.) That they could blow up the White House was….okay, that’s interesting enough to give a shot.
      And that was twenty years before Roland Emmerich became a national punchline, and we laughed “10,000 B.C.” off the screen.

      As for Dory, that was to be expected, but it’s spooky how much this is becoming the Summer of ’03 all over again: Execs amazed and astounded that we all went to the Pixar fish movie instead of seeing Terminator brought back after eleven years??

  10. Phillip says:

    At 65 years old, I have no interest in Super Hero’s!
    Been a Sci-Fi and horror fan since I was 5 years old after watching the first King Kong.
    I’d go see this, but I no longer drive and the county idiots killed our bus service.

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