Can you believe it's been fifteen years since Independence Day ushered in a new age of blockbuster summer entertainment? Like most of you, we saw that film multiple times in theaters just to watch famous landmarks explode and then-unexpected action star Will Smith kick alien ass. Fox has toyed with making sequels to the $817 million-grossing sci-fi spectacular, and now they're finally trying to gear up for two sequels, shot back-to-back, with or without Will Smith, who in the following decade and a half became one of the most bankable movie stars on the planet. Why?
Because Will Smith wants $50 million, that's why.
Now, this isn't an unheard of paycheck in Hollywood, what with Johnny Depp making even more than that for his Pirates of the Caribbean sequels. But Independence Day came out so long ago that it's difficult to gauge just how vital Will Smith, who again was not a major box office draw in 1996, is to its sequels' potential success. Vulture reports that the impasse first came up back in 2009 when Fox began to seriously enter the development phase, but that both parties agreed to wait until the screenplays were completed. The two scripts, which are expected to tell one, two-part story, are due to be completed at the end of the year, bringing Will Smith's involvement back into the equation.
On top of Smith's hefty price tag, he's also potentially causing problems for the shoot since he reportedly wants to shoot close to his home, and is pushing for family members Jada Pinkett-Smith and Willow Smith to have parts in the film as well. Fox is seriously considering making the film without him, but the question remains: can they afford not to?
That said, they can probably get just about any other member of the cast back for a song, since unlike Smith, none of them went on to Hollywood superstardom.
CraveOnline will be back with more Independence Day news after we tell the world how to take those bastards down!