Director Roland Emmerich (Godzilla, The Day After Tomorrow, Stonewall) has expressed regret that he didn’t shut down production of the sequel to his 1996 hit, Independence Day.
The well-received sci-fi action film Independence Day starred Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Vivica A. Fox, and Harry Connick Jr. The film was the highest-grossing movie of the year.
With such a great initial response, it is in the blood of the Hollywood elite to immediately start planning for a sequel. Nostalgic crowds who wanted to see the still-lauded cast together again would pay big money to see such a sequel.
However, Emmerich held strong for about twenty years before delivering his follow-up film, Independence Day: Resurgence, in 2016. Emmerich said he hoped the film would be “Exactly like the first.”
The movie seemed like it was going to go well. It successfully brought back Goldblum and Pullman, but Will Smith, a central character, dropped out of the film to shoot Suicide Squad.
Emmerich attempted to fill the void left by Will Smith with Liam Hemsworth. But unfortunately, the sequel was a flop. The $389.7 million at the box office along with the $165 million budget was highly disappointing. The first film pulled in $817.4 million at the box office on only a $75 million budget.
“I should have stopped making the movie,” Emmerich said of the film after Will Smith dropped out mid-production. “I had to, really fast, cobble another script together. And I should have just said ‘no,’ because all of a sudden I was making something I criticized myself: a sequel.”
Emmerich’s flop joins a long line of sequels before it that were utter failures compared to the first:
Sequels are hard to pull off, and it’s especially difficult when your main star drops out of the film. But since Suicide Squad was poorly received by critics as well, maybe Will Smith shouldn’t have let Hemsworth take his place.
It’s still unclear if there will be a third installment of the Independence Day franchise.