Fox cans Independence Day 3D, moves up Star Wars 3D prequel releases
Posted by Patrick Sauriol on Wednesday, November 21, 2012
I can't determine whether it's a sign of little interest or high expenses that caused 20th Century Fox to cancel its plans to re-release Roland Emmerich's first end of the world FX extravaganza, 1996's Independence Day, in 3D. That's just what the movie studio has done, scuttling plans to post-convert the 16 year old sci-fi/action film into 3D and release it to theaters on July 3, 2013.
Maybe Fox doesn't believe that the first blockbuster to star Will Smith will make all that much at the box office, even if it was positioned to take advantage of the long holiday weekend that the film is titled after. Or maybe the $10-15 million dollars that it would likely cost to create Independence Day 3D wouldn't be a good gamble to take. Box office returns on 3D post-converted re-releases of aged blockbusters don't seem to produce red hot grosses.
But if that is indeed the reason for Fox to shut down ID4-3D, then why does the movie studio still intend to release 3D versions of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith? And why did the studio recently decide to move up the release of 3D Revenge of the Sith one week (to October 4, 2013) one week after the September 20, 2013 release of Attack of the Clones?)
The 3D release of Episode I: The Phantom Menace earned $43 million dollars domestically when it came out late in the winter of 2012. If the general rule of diminishing returns holds true for the 3D releases of Episode II and Episode III, their theatrical runs should fetch somewhere between $30-35 million each. Maybe Fox stands to make more from the 3D Star Wars runs, perhaps with Lucasfilm shouldering some (or most) of the 3D conversion cost.
What the cancellation of Independence Day 3D might mean for the promised two-part ID4 sequel that Emmerich wants to do remains to be seen.