With the 2015 summer movie season coming to a close, the only thing left to do now is get excited for next year’s batch of blockbusters. Though theaters are still hot from the mega-releases of 2015, eyes are now turning to 2016 - which promises a huge slate of big money potential for the studios (and slam-bang action for the audiences). Now, word has come that two of the most hotly anticipated releases of next summer have officially wrapped their productions.
The wrap of the long-awaited sequel to 1996’s Independence Day, titled Independence Day: Resurgence, has been announced by director Roland Emmerich, while the DC cinematic universe gamble Suicide Squad - also scheduled to arrive in 2016 - wrapped its own filming on Sunday, which writer/director David Ayer and his all-star cast took time to celebrate.
News of the Suicide Squad movie finishing production leaked when cast members Jai Courtney and Margot Robbie stopped by to help promote a six-year old Toronto girl's charity lemonade stand (hat tip CTV), on their way to the film's wrap party. Meanwhile, here is the announcement made by Emmerich via Twitter, regarding the end of production on the Independence Day sequel:
— Roland Emmerich (@rolandemmerich) August 22, 2015
Independence Day Resurgence hits theaters almost twenty years to the day after its predecessor first won the hearts and minds of audiences, and is bringing with it most of the original cast, including Bill Pullman, Vivica A. Fox, Jeff Goldblum, Judd Hirsch, and Brent Spiner; basically, everyone but Will Smith. New additions to the roster include Joey King (The Conjuring), Maika Monroe (It Follows), Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games), Charlotte Gainesbourg (Melancholia), and Angelababy (Hitman: Agent 47). Emmerich returns to the director’s chair in hopes of recapturing the apocalyptic glory of the original film and jumpstart a new series.
While IDR, as it’s been dubbed, certainly has the star power, a lot has changed in the intervening decades since Independence Day. The original was one of the mid-90’s classics that redefined audience expectations of what a summer movie could be, and in many ways created the template upon which summer has been built since its release. Never before had such wanton destruction been witnessed on the big screen as alien invaders decimated city after city in their invasion. These days, of course, both alien invasions and mass destruction are old hats to the movie going audiences of the world. While summer just doesn’t feel like summer anymore without watching in awe as cities fall into rubble, one wonders if Resurgence has the ability to recapture the magic for a second time or if audiences will be numb to the sight of cities tumbling to dust.
Notable, too, was the rise of the “shared universe,” a concept that has been refined over the last decade and completely changed the cinematic landscape. Whereas sequels used to be fairly clear defined, these days it’s a bit more nebulous. Thanks to Marvel, worlds can be built in greater detail without relying on a single character to carry the weight. With universes being created thanks to intricately connected threads running through otherwise unrelated movies, the concept of a traditional sequel feels almost quaint by today’s standards.
It's not surprising, then, that 20th Century Fox intends for Independence Day: Resurgence to launch a whole new trilogy. This is, of course, exactly what Warner Brothers and DC are banking on with Suicide Squad, a superhero movie that looks so unlike others that have come before it. The third film in WB’s burgeoning DC cinematic universe, there’s a lot riding on the success of Suicide Squad and already the pressure is mounting.
Starring Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jared Leto as Joker, Cara Delevingne as Enchantress, Will Smith as Deadshot, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, and Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, Suicide Squad follows a group of notorious villains forced to perform dangerous missions in exchange for time off their prison sentences. As the first superhero film to be built around villains as protagonists, the potential is certainly there for this to be a superhero movie the likes of which we’ve never seen. WB/DC are known for treading in darker waters than their counterparts over at Marvel so this definitely works as a concept for their universe, on those grounds.
Suicide Squad is a clear risk for the studio, though, as its failure could bring their cinematic universe crashing before it really gets off the ground. On the other hand, the film’s success puts the studio well positioned to combat the onslaught coming from Marvel, with WB/DC has been playing catchup. More and more comic book movie fans have warmed to the concept after the trailer release at the 2015 San Diego Comic Con; for Suicide Squad, though, only time will tell if the risk was worth the reward.
Independence: Day Resurgence is set for theatrical release on June 24th, 2016, while Suicide Squad hits theaters on August 5th, 2o16.