Vivica A. Fox is well aware that Independence Day: Resurgence missed the mark with fans. She also knows exactly why the 2016 film failed to live up to its predecessor, Independence Day, which was released in 1996: the project was missing its big star.
Fox played Jasmine Hiller in both films, the wife of fighter pilot Steven Hiller, who was played by Smith in the first project. In an interview with The A.V. Club, the actress kept it real about the sequel’s failure to score big at the box office. “I really feel we missed out by not bringing Will Smith back,” she admitted in the video published on Friday (June 30). “We had most of the original cast, but I think the one true link that was missing to the success of ‘Independence Day 2’ was that Will Smith wasn’t there.”
The Kill Bill star continued, “I’m going to keep it real — I was at the premiere, and I was like, ‘Mmm, let’s see how the fans are going to feel about this.’ And sure enough, on Twitter, they blew me up.” Resurgence brought in $389 million in ticket sales, whereas the Smith-led film raked up $817 million at the box office, according to Variety. The alien-battle flick also helped catapult Smith to newfound stardom as a movie star. It also set him up to dominate the Fourth of July weekend throughout the 1990s, making him a cinematic force to be reckoned with.
In a 2021 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Independence Day writer-producer Dean Devlin claimed that 20th Century Fox initially did not want to cast Smith for the lead role. “They said, ‘You cast a Black guy in this part, you’re going to kill foreign [box office],'” Delvin told the publication. “Our argument was, ‘Well, the movie is about space aliens. It’s going to do fine foreign.’ It was a big war, and [director Roland Emmerich] really stood up for [Smith] — and we ultimately won that war.”
Despite being a fan of the original script for the sequel, Smith ultimately passed on reprising the role of Hiller due to a reported compensation discrepancy. As a result, his character was killed off.
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