Independence Day: Resurgence–Why it Flopped in the U.S.?

box_officeIndependence Day: Resurgence, the sequel to the 1996 hit, which was the highest-grossing movie of its year, only opened with $41.6 million.

The movie, which we dismissed on our site as messy, silly, and risible, received mostly bad reviews from critics and had mixed or negative word of mouth even before it had opened.


According to RottenTomatoes meter, Independence Day received only 34 percent favorable reviews (which means that 2 out of every 3 reviews were negative).  By comparison, the rating of approval of the 1996 picture was 62 percent positive notices (and 38 negative ones).

The original Independence Day opened to $50.2 million, when tickets were less than half of what they are priced at now.  Taking into an account the inflation ratio, and adjusting it to the current marketplace, this figure would be much higher today.

Resurgence, which cost $165 million, did much better internationally, grossing $102.1 million abroad.  In China, it scored an impressive $37.3 million debut.

According to Variety’s analysis, three reasons accounted for the failure of Resurgence at home.  We had our own reasons for its failure.

The Sequel Needed Will Smith or a Mega Star; Liam Hemstworth Is Not There Yet
The original Independence Day kicked off Will Smith’s career as a major box office draw, a status that he enjoyed for 15 years with mega hits such as the “Men in Black” series, “Hancock,” “I, Robot” and “The Pursuit of Happyness.”

Smith bailed on “Resurgence,” after the studio reportedly turned down his demand for a $50 million paycheck to crank out two sequels in a row. His casting would have inevitably fueled nostalgia among millennials who recalled seeing him in the first movie 20 years ago, even if Smith’s box office track record has been wobbly lately.

On the other hand, adding Liam Hemsworth to the cast may have helped the movie’s international take — he’s Australian and global audiences are familiar with him from The Hunger Games. But in the US, Liam has been less successful at carrying movies on his own.

Apocalypse and/or Sequel Fatigue
When the original “Independence Day” opened, the idea of aliens blowing up the White House was novel. And while even back in 1996, the movie was old-fashioned, it had a certain naive charm to it, which could be summed u as “it’s only a movie, folks.”  At resent, however, almost every blockbuster features apocalyptical themes and sights of mass destruction.

This year alone, the world was blown up in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “X-Men: Apocalypse.”  Director Roland Emmerich has turned mass devastation into part of his brand with projects like “The Day After Tomorrow” and “2012.”

To U.S. viewers still reeling from a national tragedy like the Orlando shooting, all this destruction might not still seem like escapist entertainment anymore.

Audiences Are Getting Smarter About Sequels
With the quality of TV on the rise, audiences are more careful and critical of sequels that are only made for financial gain. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,” “Alice Through the Looking Glass” and “The Divergent Series: Allegiant” all underperformed badly after getting hit with negative reviews. Fox’s decision not to screen Resurgence early to critics was a bad sign.


Though they do not belong to the same genre, or necessarily aimed at the same audience, Resurgence likely was hurt by the critical acclaim and positive work of mouth of Disney’s Finding Dory.