'Independence Day: Resurgence': Will disaster film become a box office hit?
'Independence' is a sequel to the 1996 box office champion 'Independence Day' and is the newest movie to feature a large cast attempting to get through a crisis.
Claudette Barius/Twentieth Century Fox/AP
"Independence Day: Resurgence," the newest entry in the disaster film genre that has included films as wide-ranging in time period as the 1972 film "The Poseidon Adventure" and the original 1996 hit "Independence Day," is now in theaters.
"Independence" is, like the first movie, directed by Roland Emmerich and stars such actors as Jeff Goldblum, Liam Hemsworth, Maika Monroe, Sela Ward, and Bill Pullman.
The first film, which told the story of various Earth residents attempting to survive an alien invasion, became the highest-grossing movie domestically of the year.
For some movie fans, the "Independence" sequel may recall the disaster films that became popular in the 1970s, which usually featured some crisis – conveyances like cruise ships and airplanes running into trouble, a fire in a skyscraper – that was being faced by a large ensemble cast. Movies in this genre such as the 1972 film "The Poseidon Adventure" and the 1974 film "The Towering Inferno" became popular.
A movie such as "Independence Day: Resurgence" is very much in this mold, with actors already well known to audiences such as Mr. Goldblum, Mr. Hemsworth, and Ms. Ward, all attempting to facing disaster head on.
How often are movies like this still being made? The 2015 movie "San Andreas" followed this formula fairly closely, with stars such as Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Ioan Gruffudd, Paul Giamatti, and Kylie Minogue all trying to survive an earthquake and a tsunami. The 2009 movie "2012" was also similar, with John Cusack, Woody Harrelson, Amanda Peet, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, among many others, fighting for survival in the face of an epic world disaster. ("2012" was also directed by Mr. Emmerich.)
A bit further back, the 2004 movie "The Day After Tomorrow" and the 2005 film "War of the Worlds" also had characteristics of this genre.
The original "Independence Day" does remain the gold standard for these films in terms of box office success in the recent past, a mark missed by "2012" and "San Andreas," both of which grossed far below the domestic box office total for "Independence."