Two decades ago saw the launch of one of my favourite science fiction films, Independence Day. This weekend is the opening of the long awaited sequel. Set 20 years on from the original, the sequel moves on in real time from the first movie. Humanity has been busy harnessing the alien technology that crash landed after the first battle. New power sources, mobile devices, propulsion, space suits, weapons, communications and more.
The thing is, the aliens have had 20 years as well, and are set to come back bigger and bolder.
Revising a movie so long after the original is a gamble. Independence Day was a critical and box office success, talking almost a billion dollars worldwide, and likely over a billion by the time you factor in TV repeat fees. This time round the budget is bigger, and with more movies breaking the billion dollar barrier there are significant expectations for this sequel to join a club that includes Jurassic Park 4 and most of the Marvel Comic Universe films. Not to mention the Star Wars movies.
Why release a sequel now? The word is that scripts have been bouncing around for quite some time, but a combination of will and technology prevented the movie being made. Advancements in computer animation allow for a far more extensive and amazing (and convincing) movie to be made today. This is a considerable achievement considering that the original won awards for its special effects and use of models.
With the success of things like the Marvel series and the restarted Star Wars franchise, other studios want a multi-billion dollar grossing franchise of their own. Fox has struggled to achieve success in the same way with X-Men and Fantastic Four films. Independence Day may yet become the basis for a multi-movie franchise, depending on the success of the Resurgence sequel.
I’ll be watching it this weekend, both with giddy excitement and with significant curiosity from a business perspective.