‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ Beaten At Box Office, But Don’t Call It A Failure

Independence Day: Resurgence–more specifically, creator Roland Emmerich–is not waking to the best of headlines on Sunday, June 26.

That’s because the long-awaited and highly-anticipated sequel to 1996’s smash hit placed second at the box office behind holdover Finding Dory.

Add to that the fact reviews have been mostly negative (earning a Rotten Tomatoes score of just 33 percent), and the hopes of an Independence Day 3 seem to be dwindling.

Wired‘s Brian Raferty didn’t help with reviews like this one, “Sorry, Gang, But Independence Day: Resurgence Is Really Bad.” He says the movie “is largely a clumpy, vexing miscastrophe, one that feels like it was conceived and green-lit during an overcrowded Slack session that no one involved bothered to actually read.”

Ouch.

Perhaps even worse, Kotaku‘s Patrick Klepek wrote a scathing review entitled, “Independence Day: Resurgence Is Worse Than Bad. It’s Boring,” which you can check out here.

The most condemning part of Klepek’s review is as follows.

“Though I’d kept expectations for Resurgence low, it still fell beneath my basement-level hopes. Sequels are rarely better than the originals, but at the very least, they can be a fun time at the movies. I should have taken a nap instead.”

With all that said, how could anyone dare to run a headline about Independence Day: Resurgence like the one above?

Quite simply because the core purpose of the film–to set up Independence Day 3, confirmed by the glorified advertisement for it at the end of this entry–succeeds.

By the simple rules of economics, there cannot not be a sequel when a movie like this one is a financial success in spite of itself.

The part that most of Sunday’s headlines is missing is the fact that Independence Day: Resurgence may be No. 2 in its domestic take, but it’s well on its way to being another breakout hit, and that’s in spite of the fact that audiences have had 20 years to forget about the cheesy original.

Given that the original Independence Day grossed $817 million worldwide on a budget of just $75 million, it’s easy to see why some are calling Independence Day: Resurgence a failure, but that is not a fair comparison in this case.

Independence Day: Resurgence was going to have obstacles to overcome from the outset because the demographic most likely to visit theaters either weren’t born when the original landed or were too young to remember it.

Additionally, the original Independence Day was an effects-driven film, and won many props upon its initial release. However, the target demo for this film grew up in a world where movie FX had grown by leaps and bounds.

Today, the 1996 entry looks as cheesy as its story and melodrama have always been.

In short, Independence Day: Resurgence was basically starting from scratch in a marketplace crowded with superhero movies that have advanced the FX-driven film far beyond where it was 20 years ago.

And what do the numbers have to say in response?

Independence Day: Resurgence has, in 3 days, grossed $143 million worldwide on a budget of $165 million, according to Box Office Mojo. No, it hasn’t earned back its cost, but the fact that it will is all but guaranteed, especially if the foreign market continues to play this strongly.

It would essentially have to see a drop-off of more than 85 percent worldwide in its second week to keep from making a profit, and that won’t likely happen regardless of what critics and American audiences are saying.

The U.S. take was just $41.6 million; most business is coming from overseas. If the film does just half of what its original did internationally, it will gross around $300 million, and that’s not accounting for any additional U.S. revenue, which it will most likely achieve.

It is not unlikely that Independence Day: Resurgence, given its unique obstacles and bad press, could still more than double its production budget.

What do you think, readers? Does it sound like you can call this latest entry a failure? Sound off in the comments section.

[Image from Independence Day: Resurgence via Fox]