One might think that the ideal time to release a big-budget summer sci-fi film would be the Fourth of July weekend, particularly when the movie itself bears the holiday’s name.
Not so this time around for Roland Emmerich’s “Independence Day: Resurgence.”
The much-anticipated flick underwhelmed the North American box office over the past weekend, with a lower-than-expected take of $41.6 million.
In a typical summer season, an alien invasion blockbuster-in-waiting would draw in audiences like a high-powered magnet, attracting with ease those in search of some mindless relief and knock-out fun.
However, filmgoers who unfortunately ran out to see Emmerich’s new cinematic follow-up to his original “Independence Day,” which was a 1996 box-office smash, found themselves staring at a tedious and non-scintillating big-screen bore.
As a result, Fox went in search of fiscal assistance in the form of the foreign movie market to see if it could get its numbers to shift from red to black.
The studio ended up receiving an infusion of hope in that the movie’s performance did better abroad, hauling in $102.1 million from 57 overseas markets.
“Resurgence” had a sizable budget of $165 million, despite having been made without the significant expense of hiring A-lister Will Smith to play the lead in the movie or to even make a cameo appearance. Smith, of course, was the mega-star in the original film but decided to bow out of the sequel.
The “Resurgence” plot picks up twenty years after the events that took place in the original “Independence Day” movie. Seeking to exact revenge, the aliens have returned to Earth, but this time they are led by a powerful female, who is referred to as a harvester queen.
Even though Smith is not in the cast, the new sequel sports a number of actors who also appear in the original film, including Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, and Judd Hirsch.
As is typical of today’s Hollywood fare, “Resurgence” has its share of politically correct content shoehorned into the script, including a Hillary-like female president played by Sela Ward.
“Resurgence” earned an unexceptional B rating from weekend surveys taken by CinemaScore, which does not exactly bode well for its future box-office revenue.
Adding to its woes are some highly negative social media chatter and harsh reviews by members of the critic community.
According to the Rotten Tomatoes website, an aggregate of movie critics’ reviews, “Resurgence” was only able to garner a score of 33 percent positive reviews.
David Sims, writing for The Atlantic, is a typical illustration of some of the rough treatment that the sequel is receiving. Sims called the film “a non-movie, an insult to the blockbuster genre, and should stand only as a perfect example of Hollywood's more glaring deficiencies as an industry.”
In the 1996 original, Emmerich was able to create a fantastic piece of cinema, which now appears to tower over the filmmaker’s current offering.
The initial “Independence Day,” directed and co-written by Emmerich, allows viewers to drop their intellectual guard and enjoy the total entertainment immersion experience, with the added bonus of being treated to some perfectly timed patriotic bliss.
Critics and moviegoers alike resonated with the original at the time. The movie received a 62 percent on the same Rotten Tomatoes site. Scientific anomalies did not get in the way of its audience appeal since the first film put the emphasis on viewers’ enjoyment.
Film buffs remember the absurd climax of the original, where Goldblum’s character uses his consumer laptop to save the world from outer space invaders by plugging into the aliens’ computer system without encountering any interplanetary technological compatibility problems.
The studio was counting on the likelihood that a sequel would do well, even after a twenty year passage, since the original movie broke records while bringing in more than $50 million in its debut, ultimately making it one of the top-grossing films at the time, with $817.4 million worldwide.
Regrettably for Fox, for one of the movie season’s prime summer kick-offs “Resurgence” broke the cardinal rule of commercial filmmaking: first, entertain.
James Hirsen, J.D., M.A., in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. Visit Newsmax TV Hollywood. Read more reports from James Hirsen — Click Here Now.
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