Disaster film director, Roland Emmerich, may have been busy recently making his latest tale of destruction, 2012, but that doesn't stop him from thinking ahead (or backwards, depending on how you look at it). A sequel to his mammoth, $800 million worldwide success that was 1996's Independence Day (or "ID4") has apparently been in the cards for ages now. Back in 2004, an outline script was even written by screenwriter Dean Devlin and Emmerich - but, for whatever reason, "in the end it didn't work out."
Last year, our friend Robert Sanchez over at IESB.net spoke to 20th Century Fox CEO, Tom Rothman, about Independence Day 2's status and effectively he said it was all down to Emmerich, and that the story, "can and should continue." And today, thanks to the guys over at Latino Review, we have a new update on a possible ID4 sequel straight from Emmerich himself.
When asked about why there's not been a sequel to "ID4 2" yet, even though there's (apparently) a script written for it, Emmerich said:
"Dean Devlin and I are still set to make a sequel likely because we've found some sort of idea and we approached FOX and FOX has not quite figured out how to incorporate Dean's and my deal, and Will's (Smith) deal. Will wants to do it in some sort of a package they can live with. So it's just been in negotiations now since forever, and naturally FOX says "Why don't you do it without Will Smith?" I said Will is essential for us, for this movie and actually for the audience too. And, so, it's in limbo and lately the studios are fighting. Like gross players, and Will is a gross player and is probably the only gross player right now who's worth his gross. So we'll see what happens. I would love to do it."
Emmerich went on to say that there's a story been conceived, "a very cool one." But sadly he didn't elaborate on just what that story might be, jokingly saying that Dean (Devlin) would, "burst through the door..." I'm guessing Emmerich isn't calling ALL the shots on the continuation of ID's story as one might think...
Of all of Emmerich disaster films, Independence Day seems to be his most critically well received (61% on Rotten Tomatoes, compared to the 45% of The Day After Tomorrow and 9% of 10,000 BC), as well as being his biggest money-maker at the worldwide box office ($817 million). So on both counts - critical and financial - it's very easy to see why they'd want to make a sequel.
It's interesting and surprising to note that Fox, the studio that would likely rake in a ton of the money on ID4 2, is the one stalling. What's not surprising about this, however, is money being the root of the problem. By the sounds of it, Fox wants to make the film without Smith - pretty much the only bankable movie star left in Hollywood today (just look at the box office results of his last 8 movies in a row) - as they would have to pay him a hefty sum of money to do it.
Smith has gotten to the point where he gets a percentage of the film's gross (head over to Latino Review for a well written rundown of how it works), so I'm guessing Fox's line of thinking is, "How can we spend as little as possible while making as much as possible?" It's the line of thinking pretty much every business goes by, only it's only those thoughts are much more public where movie studios are involved.
Personally, I wouldn't mind a sequel to Independence Day, I really like the first one (doesn't everyone?), but it doesn't hit me as a film that NEEDS to have a followup. Do I look forward to a sequel? Sure, but to be honest, I'm fine either way.
What do you think of Fox, for money reasons, stalling Independence Day 2? Would you like a sequel to the mega-hit that was the first one, or do you think it should be left at one?