Though sequels and adaptations of existing forms of media are nothing new for Hollywood, they seem to have reached a fever pitch in recent years. Aside from the ever-expanding worlds of Harry Potter, Star Wars, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, DC Comics has also been expanding their slate of films. They released two this year with Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman and David Ayer’s Suicide Squad. The latter made waves before its release thanks to an all-star cast featuring Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jared Leto as the Joker, and, most notably, Will Smith as Deadshot.
Many were surprised that the actor, known for years to only star in films, would join up with the ensemble set to focus on a number of DC’s iconic supervillains. The decision became even more intriguing when it became clear that the choice to join the movie would prevent Smith from reprising his role in Independence Day: Resurgence, the sequel to the hit alien action flick from the ’90s. Suicide Squad posed a somewhat risky proposition, thanks to its relatively obscure characters – like the mercenary Deadshot that Smith would be playing. The ID4 sequel, on the other hand, was arriving two decades after the original film. So how did the actor decide which route to take?
“I had the two screenplays in front of me for the Independence Day 2 and for Suicide Squad. I had to choose between the two of those. Even the choice of going to Suicide Squad — nothing about the qualities of the movie — but the choice of trying to go forward versus clinging and clawing backwards. I do want to aggressively go forward and do new things and create and hopefully be able to stumble upon a new heyday.”
From an artistic perspective, it makes sense that Smith would want to attempt something fresh rather than retread a past performance. Though the Men In Black franchise proves he’s not adverse to sequels, it’s not hard to understand why the unique tone of Suicide Squad would seem more enticing than dusting off a role from his youth. From a financial standpoint, of course, Smith’s move was even wiser.
Whether prescient or just business savvy, Smith certainly seems to have made the right call. While both films were panned by critics (each scoring less than 40% on Rotten Tomatoes), Suicide Squad at least found favor among some fans. Independence Day: Resurgence, on the other hand, never located its niche. While David Ayer, DC, and Warner Bros. are already working on a follow-up to the villain-centric film, the ID4 franchise is likely finished. On top of that, the Fox film didn’t even make back its $165 million budget domestically, though worldwide it eked out nearly $400 million. Suicide Squad, meanwhile, almost doubled its $175 million budget at home, and pulled in an impressive $745 million all told across the world. Not bad for the freshmen entry into the franchise.
Neither Suicide Squad 2 or Independence Day 3 have release dates yet, but stay tuned for more information as it arrives.