Whether one agrees with #OccupyWallStreet or not, the movement has helped to highlight the levels of greed that pervade America today. The focus is on corporate America, but many are starting to also highlight greed that hurts other institutions such as entertainment and government. With Will Smith’s demands of $50 million to do the two sequels planned for the movie “Independence Day”, I can say in true #Occupy fashion that if he’s in the movies, I won’t see them.
If his wife and kids are in the movie as he is also demanding, I may find myself camping out with nasty signs at the local AMC telling people of my outrage.
I write this only partially tongue-in-cheek. Will Smith has been a star for years with a strong hip hop music career and his own television show in his early years, but it was Independence Day that truly put him on the map. Sure, he had “Bad Boys” come out the year before which spawned sequels, but his role as the heroic alien-punching, cigar-smoking fighter pilot Captain Steven Hiller propelled him to super-stardom.
Let’s remember back 15 years. Independence Day was simple, stole elements from other stories, and had some cheesy performances, but its effect on movie making has been pronounced and duplicated ever since its release. It was the first blockbuster that blew up the White House. It pushed the boundaries and has since spawned many attempts to go over the top in science fiction and action.
The movie was meaningful on many levels both to Hollywood’s direction in action movies and the industry’s perceptions of uniting against a common foe. The need for a strong movie of similar scope and feel has yet to truly be met, making the sequels a necessity if the genre is to advance.
Will Smith stands in the way. His demands are relatively reasonable by today’s Hollywood standards, especially considering his world-wide appeal. They will make money. Lots of it. He has every right to name his price.
It doesn’t make it any less insulting in today’s troubled financial times that he would ask for so much (particularly working his family into the script) and risk the movies never getting made.
Fine – Leonardo Dicaprio might not be the best pick to fight the return of the aliens. It doesn’t matter. I’m insulted by Will Smith’s greed. Someone else needs to star in the sequels. Otherwise, I’ll be occupying something in protest.