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film news

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.

-20th Century Fox.
The Swollen Goi...
Posts: 14343
Posted: 4 years 48 weeks ago

Why? Probably because people are talking about Star Wars again. It's a hot topic. Also, you're probably right about Lucasfilm doing the grunt work for them as far as conversion is concerned.

And let's not forget that Fox probably wants to squeeze whatever money it can out of the movies it still owns the rights to. 

I don't think anyone's super-excited about rereleasing the prequels. They kinda had to if they wanted to make any money off them. Making money off the OT 3D conversions is a near guarantee. If they had released the OT to 3D before releasing the PT, a lot fewer people would have gone to see the PT.

Rereleasing the PT first was pretty shrewd. You give people the impression that they won't get to see the OT (in 3D) in theaters unless the rereleased PT makes money, and they will go see the PT just to assure that the OT gets its eventual release. It's sneaky and it's misleading, since the OT is guaranteed to make money no matter what. People grew up loving those movies, they were a cultural phenomenon, and parents (and, hell, grandparents) want their kids to share in the experiences they had way back when. Despite the huge prequel backlash, there's still goodwill out there for the OT--even in Special Edition/bastardized form.

It doesn't even have to be about fear mongering with releasing the PT first. You give people the impression that they're watching these things in the right order (even though, personally, I think watching the prequels first would detract from the experience of watching the OT for the first timers [that goes for watching them in Drew McWeeny's order, too]), and they know they're building toward something special. The OT becomes the cherry on top. It's the "all good things" coming to those who wait.

I'm sure Lucas was the one who insisted on putting the PT out in 3D before the OT, but I'm guessing everyone involved agreed that it should be done this way. I just don't see people going to see the PT in theaters again after they'd already gotten their Star Wars fix with Episodes IV-VI--especially with the new movies on the horizon.

Rereleasing ID4 probably looks like way more of a crapshoot to the money men than rereleasing Star Wars--especially now that interest in the Star Wars franchise is the highest it's been since 2005. That's another thing: Star Wars is a franchise. If ID4 is rereleased in 3D and does good business, that's it. No more ID4 movies to follow up on that success.

The Swollen Goi...
Posts: 14343
Posted: 4 years 47 weeks ago

I'd say it's hard to believe that US citizens who were born after this movie was released are now old enough to get licenses to drive, but it's not really all that hard to believe.

I am as old as I feel.