Announced via press release moments ago… Twentieth Century Fox unveiled several new additions to its 2013-14 release slate, including a 3D version of the film that we could say helped launch Will Smith to superstardom status – Independence Day (or ID4).
The studio was obviously inspired by the $344 million worldwide box office take of the re-release of Titanic in 3D.
Fox will release ID43D we could call it, worldwide, on July 3, 2013.
And almost a year later, on Memorial Day (May 23, 2014), the studio will release a sequel to Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, to be titled Dawn Of The Planet of The Apes, also worldwide, with Rupert Wyatt, who helmed the 2011 smash, returning to direct.
And finally, also in 2014, on July 18, Fox will release (also worldwide) the currently untitled sequel to X-Men: First Class, to be directed by Matthew Vaughn.
2014 is going to be quite a summer for Fox, with 3 tentpole releases (including Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the epic novel Robopocalypse).
I wonder what, if anything, this means for the sequel to Independence Day that's been talked about for a few years now, most recently, director Ronald Emmerich stating that he plans to revisit that blockbuster, turning it into a franchise with not one, but TWO more films.
Emmerich and screenwriting partner Dean Devlin have reportedly already completed scripts for back-to-back sequels, and have turned them over to superstar Will Smith for his approval, because, as one might expect, Smith would play a key role in whether both films actually get made.
But that may not be quite the case, since new developments have said that 20th Century Fox could go ahead with both films without Smith, if they decide that his demands are too steep.
What demands? Well, most significantly, from our last post on this a few months back, Big Willie reportedly asks for $50 million to appear in both films, and Fox balked at the idea. There was also talk about Poppa Smith wanting to include his wife and kids in the movie (said a New York magazine exclusive).
Will's salary for the first film was about $5 million; not bad, considering he certainly wasn't the proven box office champ that he would later become. I'd assume that any sequels to ID4 would cost more than the $75 million the original did. How much more, I don't know. But given the current budgets of many high-profile, special effects-laden blockbusters, I wouldn't be shocked if the budgets for ID4 parts 2 and 3 are in the $150 – $200+ million range (including salaries of course). So Will Smith asking for $25 million for each isn't all that unreasonable, is it? Given that he will likely headline each, and will be the main box office draw (along with the computer generated alien effects).
And if he wants to include his family in it… well… the question is, how badly do Fox and Emmerich want him in both films, and how crucial his appearance is to each film's box office.
Prior to last weekend's release of MIB3, Smith hadn't appeared on screen since 2008's Seven Pounds, which was one of his least financially successful starring vehicles; so maybe the ambivalence on Fox's part is rooted in a concern that he may not be as much of a box office sure-thing as he's been in previous movies, and thus his $25 million per movie asking price isn't justified.
We'll see how this all shakes out. I haven't exactly been longing for ID4 sequels, but I'll probably still see them if they do get made, with or without Will Smith.
As for the 3D re-release… well, it's not something I'm all that interested in seeing.