Finding Dory absolutely demolished the Independence Day sequel at the box office this weekend. While there was some hype around the latest Independence Day film, it wasn’t enough to keep Finding Dory at bay in its second week.
The film, starring Ellen DeGeneres as Dory, captured the imagination of children and the generation before in Finding Nemo. Couple these two generations, who also consist of the parents now taking their own children to see the animated film, and it was bound to turn in a huge profit.
The results: Catastrophic! Finding Dory left Independence Day 2 in the dust with an estimated $73 million in its second week for an estimated total of $286 million.
— GamesRadar+ (@GamesRadar) June 26, 2016
While fans of ID4 can argue that Independence Day 2: Resurgence also had nostalgia and an existing fan base, in the end, that existing fan base didn’t seem too gung ho about the sequel. Cinema Blend reports that in 1996, the first film raked in an impressive $50 million during its opening weekend, which was the second highest opening ever at that time.
In comparison, in its first week, Independence Day: Resurgence opened with $41 million, which is nothing compared to the huge tentpole projects of Marvel and DC, which make double and triple the amount of that in a day. When you take into consideration the ticket prices and how much they’ve skyrocketed over the last twenty years, this is merely a blip.
Perhaps it was the fact that Independence Day star Will Smith was nowhere to be found in the sequel. Maybe what made the first film so appealing over time was seeing Will Smith do what he does best, and that’s “save the world.” It seems that most fans wanted to see a repeat of this formula and weren’t interested in seeing the new generation (Liam Hemsworth and Jessie Usher) take over for Smith. Another reason is that Independence Day 2 really didn’t seem to heighten the stakes from the first film.
When Independence Day hit theaters 20 years ago, it was one of the most explosive spectacles we’ve ever seen. In years following that, technology has only gotten better, and filmmakers arguably used Emmerich’s film as a blueprint. Somewhere down the line, the explosions got bigger, and now moviegoers expect innovation at the theaters with every popcorn movie. Audience goers didn’t find any of this when they checked in for the latest installment. A studio can only put so many eggs in one basket while marketing a film in hopes to create buzz. If there’s not much buzz generated, then the audience is going to see through it.
— GameSpot (@gamespot) June 27, 2016
As for Finding Dory, even though Nemo was the star of the first film, the marketing behind this film was identical to this new installment. Creatively speaking, by making an already popular character Dory the star of the new film, it ensured that there would be major excitement surrounding Finding Dory on top of the usual fanfare that we usually see when it comes to Pixar installments.
Another reason why Finding Dory dominated Independence Day 2 is because of its Rotten Tomatoes score. Finding Dory has a 94 percent score while Independence Day: Resurgence has a grim 34 percent. With the rise of the internet, audiences are smarter and know to look out for specific telltale signs of whether or not a movie is going to sink or swim. One place many movie goers go to track the success of a film is Rotten Tomatoes, an aggregated site that takes critic reviews and gives an overall percentage of how well the film has done in the eyes of critics. This score is usually built up a week or two before the initial release.
As the Inquisitr reported, when Independence Day 2 hit theaters, most of those critics were invited to a screening the day it was released, which might point to the fact that the studio wanted to make sure whatever damage that could be done would be after the initial weekend release, but that seemed to backfire in multiple ways.
We’ve seen a lot of films hurt by scathing film reviews, so it isn’t outlandish to think this is the reason for very late screenings for critics. For example, Batman v Superman opened in theaters with a strong first weekend, but due to the response from the critics, the film had one of the largest drop-offs in attendance during its second weekend. In the age of social media, most studios can’t afford negative press or word to go around that they have a bomb on their hands.
Looks like not even Will Smith can save ID4 from itself.
[Photo by Pixar]