'Independence Day' sequel: We know the cast – is there still an appetite for disaster movies?

We now know which 'Independence Day' cast members will be returning and which new stars have signed on, but do audiences still want to see landmark-destroying movies?

Joel Ryan/Invision/AP
Jeff Goldblum arrives on the red carpet for the screening of the film 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' at the 64th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin.

We now know some of the stars who will appear in the sequel to the 1996 movie “Independence Day.” 

According to director Roland Emmerich, original star Jeff Goldblum will be appearing in the sequel. Emmerich tweeted that both Goldblum and Liam Hemsworth of the “Hunger Games” films will be starring in the movie. 

Actor Jessie Usher, who has appeared in “Survivor’s Remorse” and “When the Game Stands Tall,” among other work, will appear in the movie as the son of Will Smith’s character from the original movie, Captain Steven Hiller, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The “Independence Day" sequel is set to be released in 2016. 

“Independence” centers on aliens attacking Earth. The film followed a large ensemble cast that included President Thomas Whitmore (Bill Pullman), pilot Steven Hiller (Will Smith), and tech expert David Levinson (Goldblum), among others. The movie became the highest-grossing film of the year and Emmerich went on to direct such movies as the 2013 film “White House Down,” the 2009 movie “2012,” 2004’s “The Day After Tomorrow,” and the 2000 movie “The Patriot.”

So will an “Independence Day" sequel do well when it comes out? The power of nostalgia should never be underestimated – many audience members who remember the first movie will probably seek out the sequel just out of curiosity.

It will be interesting to see how the movie does at the box office, however. Emmerich’s movie “White House” grossed less than the film “Olympus Has Fallen,” a movie released months earlier which featured a very similar premise (man protects president when White House is attacked). And “Independence” is still Emmerich’s highest-grossing movie, according to the website Box Office Mojo. The movie “2012,” which was based on the premise that various geological disasters occurred in the year of the title, included similar sequences to “Independence” and “Tomorrow” in which well-known landmarks are destroyed and various natural disasters occur. Neither “Tomorrow” nor “2012” grossed as much as “Independence,” with ticket costs adjusted for inflation, and in contrast to the triumph of "Independence," "2012" was the 15th-highest-grossing movie of the year, while "Tomorrow" was seventh-highest.

Whether audiences will enjoy a new movie in a similar vein comes down to whether they need a good story to go along with those special effects. Some critics enjoyed "2012," Emmerich's most recent disaster movie, with Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times calling the movie “fun," Variety critic Todd McCarthy writing that the effects are "sensational," and Stephen Farber of the Hollywood Reporter called the visual effects "eye-popping." But even most of those who gave the movie a positive review said the film's script was silly. McCarthy wrote that "on any level other than as sheer visual sensation, '2012' is a joke," while Farber noted that "the cheesy script fails to live up to the grandeur of the physical production." Monitor film critic Peter Rainer agreed, writing, "Every cliché, every bad idea, every thudding line of dialogue, is redolent of other earlier epic clinkers."

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