If the marketing campaign for Independence Day: Resurgence mirrored the content of the film itself, Roland Emmerich would've hosted a press screening within Area 51, presented E.T. and Chewbacca as special guests, and ignited more fireworks than the opening ceremony of the Olympics and New Year's Eve celebrations combined.
In contrast to the grandiose concept of the sequel to the 1996 classic, marketing for the movie has been glaringly disproportionate. 20 years have passed, and we're salivating at the prospect of Emmerich going even bigger and more explosive than before. Yet, looking around, the number of Independence Day: Resurgence reviews available is much lower than expected.
Interestingly, this is because 20th Century Fox has restricted routine press screenings, a decision that is surprising for a film with more CGI than you could shake a Mothership at, and a budget in the region of $200 million.
A Lack Of Independence Day: Resurgence Publicity
Instinctively, the assumption is that Fox is deliberately guarding the final product from critics, in the knowledge that potential indifferent reviews could chip away two decades worth of enthusiasm and have a damaging impact on the box office too. Look on Rotten Tomatoes, and the film has no rating, good nor bad, despite being released in a matter of days.
But in reality, this could be a clever tactical ploy, exhibiting recognition of recent debates surrounding the disparity between critics and audiences. Could it be a ripple effect from the fallout surrounding Batman v Superman and X-Men: Apocalypse, two films that suffered from scathing criticism?
Zack Snyder's second attempt at directing a DCEU film with BvS was panned by critics, resulting in a lowly 27% on Rotten Tomatoes. Yet financially, the film was nowhere near a flop; it earned $872.7 million worldwide, and many fans enjoyed repeated viewings.
Apocalypse, another Fox property, also had the wind taken out of its sails prior to release. On this occasion, Fox opted for early press screenings, a plan that backfired when the film was received poorly. Again, though, many fans enjoyed the film, and to date it has grossed $508.8 million worldwide.
The Changing Landscape Of Critical Reviews
Such is the status of Rotten Tomatoes, much of the discussion surrounding a film's release centers around how well it's performing on the review aggregator. With that in mind, Fox may be banking on having a gravitational pull bigger than Mothership 2.0, that'll attract audiences who are thirsty for nostalgia.
There's no doubt social media and websites like Rotten Tomatoes have changed the landscape of critical acclaim. Even average views can translate into a rotten rating overall, and Fox may have decided no reviews are better than middle range to negative ones in the run-up to the release of Resurgence.
The bare minimum we'd like to see from the sequel is hinted at heavily in the trailer. Let's make no qualms about it, Independence Day was an enjoyable popcorn flick, and if Emmerich's follow up can provide lighthearted escapism in the same way, then I for one will be leaving the cinema with an elevated heart rate and a childlike smile.
For Now, We Wait
The eventual reception versus audience numbers should give some indication to what Fox's strategy was in the low profile promotion. Let's hope they are so confident audiences will be blown away by what they see, they've decided to choose a side in the fan versus critic debate, focusing on the former. At least there are only a couple of days left to wait.
Independence Day: Resurgence is release on 24 June.
Do you pay attention to reviews? Or would you watch your chosen film irrespective of what the critics think?