But of course, they’d love to have him back — if the price is right. Put Smith in a movie where he’s punching or shooting someone (or something) and it’s usually box office gold. After all, he turned some pretty bad movies into hits, including “I am Legend” and “Hancock”. Okay, “Hancock” was mildly fun, but it was just mostly bad, one of those missed opportunities where you can’t help but think so much could have been done with it, but they ended up doing so little with the idea of a God-turned-superhero-turned-bum. I mean, his biggest fights were against a housewife and some lame, non-descript bank robbers, for God’s sake.
In any case, Vulture, quoting unnamed sources, tells us that Fox has plans for not one, but two “Independence Day” sequels that will be shot back-to-back, with Roland Emmerich back to direct from scripts he co-wrote with his old buddy Dean Devlin, the twosome responsible for the first “ID4” way, way back in 1996. Sheesh, has it been that long ago? Where does 15 years go…?
The sticking point, apparently, is Smith’s salary demands. According to Vulture’s studio source, Smith is asking for $50 million to do both films (that’s up front, and he’s probably asking for back-end participation too, most likely). Meanwhile, Emmerich is also demanding a pretty hefty paycheck himself. So, caught between Emmerich and Smith, the studio may be considering two “ID4” sequels shot back-to-back without Smith. Though I wonder if they’re not thinking about ditching Emmerich, too. Blowing up shit isn’t exactly all that hard to do, after all.
(By the way, how come no one’s asking Jeff Goldblum if he wants to come back for the sequels? What’s up with that? After all, it was HIM who came up with the idea of uploading a virus to the alien’s super computer with an Apple Powerbook. I mean, that’s gotta count for something, right?)
Despite being one of the biggest box office draws on the planet (minus those weepy flicks he does every now and then to try to win some Awards hardware), Smith has a surprisingly low number of films on his resume. He hasn’t done a movie since 2008’s “Seven Pounds”, and in that time he’s only committed to “Men in Black III”, which he’s currently shooting. He’s also attached to M. Night Shyamalan’s “One Thousand A.E.” with his son Jaden, but who knows if he’ll actually do that one. (Probably, though. Family, as you can probably tell by Smith literally buying products just to put his kids in them, is a big deal to the fella.)
But two more “Independence Day” movies without Will Smith? I guess I can see that happening, though it’s probably not preferable for the studio. Then again, alien invasion movies are all the rage nowadays, but who knows in a couple of more years, especially after entries have really stunk up the joint…