Let's go back to late April 2015...
Prince and David Bowie are still alive, Bruce Jenner just became Caitlyn, Donald Trump is just some guy with bad hair and a reality TV show and we are all just days away from seeing [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035). The entire 2015 summer and holiday movie slate is still ahead of us, The Force Awakens. Mockingay Part 2. Spectre. Mad Max: Fury Road, Inside Out, Furious 7, The Martian and a little film called Jurassic World are still mysteries to the general public.
If we were to have guessed where all of these films were going to rank in terms of box office for the year, many of us would have assumed that the 2015 Box Office king would be either The Force Awakens or Age of Ultron, and we wouldn't be too far off. In fact we would have picked the first and third place movies correctly, not bad. What would have shocked most of us at the time was the juggernaut that would be Jurassic World, which was only usurped last year by the box office deity that is Star Wars.
Jurassic World grossed over $652 domestically during it's theatrical run and broke the record for largest opening weekend ever with over $200 million domestic. Of course all of these records were broken later in the year by Star Wars but as it stands Jurassic World is the fourth largest grossing film of all time (not adjusted for inflation.) Not too shabby!
How did Jurassic World take us by surprise? Maybe we under estimated the star power of Chris Pratt or even the love of the Jurassic franchise. The early reviews for the film were not exactly stellar and to be quite honest the trailers weren't either. Many people complained that the CGI looked too animated in the trailers and the Indominous Rex wasn't that interesting. After all of us saw the movie, a large portion of us was underwhelmed. But here's the thing......
WE ALL SAW THE MOVIE!!! Maybe it was Chris Pratt forming a motorcycle gang with Velociraptors that got our butts in the seats, who knows? I mean don't get me wrong. Jurassic World is wildly entertaining and a great popcorn flick. Even so it lacks the heart and imagination of the original Jurassic Park, so how did this generic cliche summer movie become such a phenomenon?
The answer is, NOSTALGIA!!
In fact later in 2015, another blockbuster with a John Williams score manipulated the feelings of our youth with the Hiroshima of all nostalgia bombs in The Force Awakens. If the 2015 box office taught us anything it's that our culture craves nostalgia, especially if it's from the last pre-9/11 decades of the 80's and 90's.
Fast forward to late April 2016 and we're in a very similar situation in terms of Box Office outlook. The tent pole Marvel film of the year, Captain America: Civil War is just a few days away, the end of the year will give us another Star Wars film called Rogue One and a slew of other huge films are poised to make a huge splash in theaters in the coming weeks and months.
Out of all these films, the most intriguing Box office conundrum is Independence Day: Resurgence. Like Jurassic World, Independence Day Resurgence is a sequel/reboot to beloved 90's franchise starring Jeff Goldblum. Both Jurassic World and the original Independence Day were huge grandiose action adventures that relied on eye catching visuals and up and coming young superstars like Will Smith and Chris Pratt to achieve amazing commercial success. Neither JW or Independence Day were critically successful they were both huge hits with fans. Many Millennials can remember wearing out VHS copies of Independence day and Jurassic Park in the 90's, now Hollywood is trying to cash in on those fond childhood memories.
The first Independence Day: Resurgence trailer builds to crescendo with the iconic speech by Bill Pullman's character President Thomas J. Whitmore from the original film, only furthering the nostalgia factor. If that isn't enough the second trailer gives us more of a glimpse into the characters of Patricia Whitmore and Dylan Hiller, who were children in the events of the original Independence Day. Maika Monroe's character Patricia Whitmore (played by Mae Whitman as a child in ID4) is the daughter of President Whitmore while Jessie Usher's character Dylan Hiller (played by Ross Bagley in ID4) is the son of Will Smith's character from the original Captain Steven Hiller. These family bonds only strengthen our nostalgic ties to the original, especially with Millenial parents who are excited about sharing one of their favorite cinematic experiences of their youth with their kids.
One of the biggest drawbacks to Independence Day: Resurgence is the absence of Wills Smith. Much like how Jurassic World banked on Chris Pratt's star power, Independence Day turned to the bankable up and coming star Will Smith. While the writers have used promotional material to explain the absence/demise of Captain Hiller, Will Smith's absence looms large and it will be up to the new and returning cast to fill the void of Will Smith's charisma. Still, the return of Pullman and Goldblum gives a chance to see former characters return to this franchise.
While I don't believe Independence Day: Resurgence will be as much of a powerhouse as Jurassic World, I do believe it has the chance to be the surprise hit of 2016 and far surpass industry box office estimates. If so, expect a flurry of even more 80's and 90's reboots/remakes than we already have, The Matrix, The Fifth Element, Armageddon and Home Alone just to name a few. Yes it's unoriginal, and most of these reboots lack the essence of their predecessors but it's undeniable that they are ridiculously fun.
Hopefully Hollywood can continue giving us quality content while cashing in on this all to easy Nostalgia gimmick. As long as they can pull that off I'm ok with all the reboots but original content is still important, although very rare. With all that being said don't be surprised if Independence Day: Resurgence end up being a top 3 box office hit, maybe even passing Rogue One or Captain America: Civil War in the box office rankings.