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Will Smith says ‘No’ to ‘Independence Day 2′

- February 7th, 2014

It looks like Will Smith will not be battling the aliens for a second time. Deadline is reporting that Smith has turned down the starring role in Fox’s upcoming sequel to Independence Day.

Director Roland Emmerich announced two follow-ups – ID Forever Part I and ID Forever Part II – last March.

Emmerich spilled the beans while making early press rounds for last summer’s action-dud, White House Down. He revealed that the sequel, which he penned with Independence Day co-writer Dean Devlin, would take place 20 years after the original.

“The humans knew that one day the aliens would come back,” the director explained to Entertainment Weekly. “And they know that the only way you can really travel in space is through wormholes. So for the aliens, it could take two or three weeks, but for us that’s 20 or 25 years.”

Emmerich and Devlin gave two outlines of the script to screenwriter James Vanderbilt (The Amazing Spider-Man), one that featured Smith’s Captain Steven Hiller, and another that focused on other characters. Last fall, THR reported that Fruitvale Station star Michael B. Jordan was being eyed for a part in the film.

According to Deadline, Smith will also not be reprising his role as Agent J in the Men in Black series. Which is fine by me. I just hope there’s still a third Bad Boys on the way.

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Will Smith ‘too expensive’ for ‘Independence Day 2′

- June 24th, 2013

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So the box office disappointment of After Earth hasn’t done anything to lower Will Smith’s price tag. At least as far as director Roland Emmerich is concerned.

Speaking to the New York Daily News ahead of the release of his latest film, White House Down, Emmerich said Smith will not be back for Independence Day 2, which is scheduled to be released July 3, 2015.

“Will Smith cannot come back because he’s too expensive, but he’d also be too much of a marquee name,” said Emmerich. “It would be too much.”

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly in March, Emmerich announced that he will shoot two sequels to the 1996 sci-fi blockbuster that kickstarted Smith’s career.

The sequels – titled ID Forever Part I and ID Forever Part II – will take place 20 years after the original.

“The humans knew that one day the aliens would come back,” the director told to EW. “And they know that the only way you can really travel in space is through wormholes. So for the aliens, it could take two or three weeks, but for us that’s 20 or 25 years.”

The new films will focus on “younger characters,” Emmerich added.

“We have like maybe half of the people that you know would know from the first film (in the script) and the other half people who are new.”

Smith is still linked to Bad Boys 3 and Hancock 2, but he won’t be returning for Men In Black 4. When asked by Collider whether he’d don the black suit alongside Tommy Lee Jones for a fourth time he replied: “I think three is enough for me. Three of anything is enough for me. We’ll look at it and we’ll consider it, but it feels like that it might be time to let someone else do that.”

So, what do you think? Is Emmerich making a mistake leaving Smith out of the new ID4 movies, or is it a good idea? Should Jaden Smith star or is he damaged goods now that After Earth crashed and burned? Let us know in the comments.

Will Smith talks ‘After Earth’s’ box office flop

- June 10th, 2013

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You have to give Will Smith a little credit. Instead of ducking out of site until the stench of his first giant-sized box office bomb dissipates, Smith went on Jimmy Kimmel Live talk about After Earth.

The sci-fi adventure had a disappointing third place opening in its debut weekend, getting clobbered by Fast & Furious 6 and Now You See Me. The film, which had a production budget of $130 million, has taken in a paltry $47 million domestically to date, and by this weekend will drop pretty much out of sight.

That’s a huge drop from last year’s MIB 3 and 2008′s Hancock.

“Here’s how I think about it Jimmy, let’s be honest. Three is the new one,” Smith said, putting his best PR spin on it. “You know how many ones it takes to make a three?”

Smith, who received a story credit on the film, said he was getting updates on After Earth’s poor box office performance hour-by-hour on opening weekend.

“I was like, ‘Uh oh,’” Smith said, laughing. “I felt like a fighter…it’s been almost two decades since I had a movie that wasn’t number one… Well, that’s over now, buddy, thanks!

“I felt like I was the champ… walking to the ring and it was like bam! It was a mess.”

It’s hard to know who to blame for the film’s dismal performance. M. Night Shyamalan has been on a cold streak with audiences for over a decade and After Earth’s advertising didn’t emphasize him as the director.

I’ve seen it, and to be honest it’s not nearly as bad as many critics made it out to be. There were flashes of visual brilliance and the premise was interesting. My big complaints were Jaden Smith’s wooden acting (that’s a hard one to get over since he’s the star), the cheesy CG creatures and the film’s hurried conclusion. Will’s accent was also unnecessarily distracting.

But when you hear news about how Will Smith came up with the story, and also turned down the starring role in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, then you have to wonder if Smith is losing his mojo.

What do you think? Are you still a fan of Will Smith? Is M. Night to blame for After Earth? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

5 potential summer movie bombs of 2013

- May 14th, 2013

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Summer – at least as far as Hollywood is concerned – is here. Heck, with the number of blockbusters the bean counters try to sneak into multiplexes each year, it seems like the rush to get us into the theatres is starting earlier and earlier.

It used to be that the summer movie season started on Memorial Day weekend. This year, there were two big releases in March (Oz: The Great and Powerful, G.I. Joe: Retaliation) and several in April (Oblivion, Pain & Gain). Iron Man 3 was released at the beginning of May, and it is already shaping up to be the biggest hit of the year. And despite poor reviews, fans turned out in droves for Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby.

With Star Trek Into Darkness due out this weekend, we’ll be seeing a big blockbuster hit the theatres every week from now until Labour Day. But not all those movies are going to be a success. Some are bound to become the laughing stock of Tinseltown.

Remember Jonah Hex? How ‘bout The Love Guru? I thought as much.
So, let’s take a look at what’s coming over the next few months. Iron Man 3 is already a hit. I think the Wolfpack are safe. Ditto Captain Kirk and company. Pacific Rim looks like it’s going to blow the roof off of every theatre it plays in. But there are at least five movies I think could potentially be saddled with the dubious distinction of being the biggest movie bomb of the summer.

I’m not saying this will for sure happen, or that these movies will be even bad, but here are five films, with a few wildcards, I think are in danger of box office failure.

Don’t like my picks, let me know what you think in the comments.

1. After Earth – In the past, Will Smith movies have been one of the easiest ways for Hollywood to print cash. But following 2008’s box-office dud Seven Pounds, the actor had to resurrect Men in Black, just to regain some of his mojo. Now, he’s teaming up with M. Night Shaymalan, who hasn’t had a hit since 2004. The movie looks interesting enough (if you haven’t already seen Oblivion), but it’s going up against The Hangover III and Fast & Furious 6. Will should have taken the Fresh Prince’s advice: “A good run is better than a bad stand any day.”

2. The Internship – Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson could have made this movie in 2006, and it probably would have been a runaway success. Well, we’re now in 2013 and neither of those two are such a big deal. Vaughn’s The Watch was a notable flop last summer, and Wilson has, er, Drillbit Taylor and Hall Pass under his belt. The Google product placement reeks and the trailer isn’t funny. Its June 7 release date could mean you’ll see this on iTunes before the August long weekend.

3. The Lone Ranger – Hollywood hasn’t been kind to the Western these past couple of years. Cowboys & Aliens tanked, as did the aforementioned Jonah Hex. Johnny Depp’s Lone Ranger has had a tumultuous journey getting to the big screen. And it doesn’t help that he may have lost a bit of his box office muscle (Dark Shadows and The Rum Diary, both tanked). I could be wrong about this – Depp is reteaming with Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer – but with a budget pegged in $250 million, the film will have to be firing on all cylinders if it hopes to be a hit.

4. Red 2 – You may not realize this, but Bruce Willis has been riding a cold streak for quite some time. He has been relegated to a handful of straight-to-DVD features and the fifth instalment of his Die Hard series – A Good Day to Die Hard – was a box office disappointment. Oh, did I mention that John McClane wants to sue for character defamation? So now we are faced with the prospect of Willis trying to have lightning strike twice with Red 2 – the sequel to one of his only recent hits. I liked the first one fine, but I have four words for Bruce – The Whole Ten Yards.

5. Man of Steel – Don’t get me wrong. I want this movie to do well. A financially successful Superman movie will hopefully usher in a Justice League team up, and possibly a new slate of superhero films based on DC characters. So yeah, I’m excited. I am a wee bit worried, though. The last time Warner tried to reboot Superman, the film got a lacklustre reception at the box office. Director Zack Snyder is also cause for some concern; both his Watchmen adaptation and Sucker Punch underperformed. So, while I’m excited, I’m a little worried as well.

Films on the bubble:

World War Z – It’s had its release date shuffled around several times, which usually isn’t a good sign. Then again, so did Avatar.

Riddick – Just ‘cos Vin Diesel thinks he invented Facebook, doesn’t mean he can try and shove another Riddick movie down everyone’s throats. Oh wait a sec, yes it does.

Grown Ups 2 – I’m surprised as anyone that there’s a sequel. But this is what happens when you let Adam Sandler make That’s My Boy and Jack & Jill.

Roland Emmerich announces ‘Independence Day’ sequels

- March 26th, 2013

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Director Roland Emmerich is best known as Hollywood’s go-to disaster guy. When you need the world to end in a big, big way, he’s your guy.

And now nearly 20 years after he solidified Will Smith as an action star in the 1996 blockbuster Independence Day, he has announced plans for not one, but two upcoming sequels, ID Forever Part I and ID Forever Part II.

Emmerich spilled the beans while making early press rounds for this summer’s action-thriller, White House Down.

He revealed that the sequel to ID4, which he has written with Independence Day co-writer Dean Devlin, will take place 20 years after the original.

“The humans knew that one day the aliens would come back,” the director explains to Entertainment Weekly. “And they know that the only way you can really travel in space is through wormholes. So for the aliens, it could take two or three weeks, but for us that’s 20 or 25 years.”

As for whether or not Will Smith will return, Emmerich could only say that the new film will revolve around some of the characters from the original, with newer ones added into the mix.

“It’s still some of the same characters, but also new younger characters; it’s a little bit like the sons take over,” says Emmerich.

And in case you’re asking, ‘Why do we need two more sequels Roland?’ Emmerich has an answer already prepped.

“The first one ends on a little success, but only enough to give the humans hope. And then in the second one they free themselves again [from the aliens].”

We still have a couple of more years to see the finished product. In the meantime, let us know what you think of the ID4 sequel news in the comments.

You can read my past interview with Emmerich for Anonymous here.