|Directed by||Roland Emmerich|
|Produced by||Dean Devlin|
|Cinematography||Karl Walter Lindenlaub|
|Edited by||David Brenner|
|Music by||David Arnold|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$817.4 million|
Independence Day (also promoted as ID4) is a 1996 American science fiction action film directed by Roland Emmerich and written by Emmerich and Dean Devlin. It stars an ensemble cast that includes Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Mary McDonnell, Judd Hirsch, Margaret Colin, Randy Quaid, Robert Loggia, James Rebhorn, Harvey Fierstein, and Harry Connick. The film focuses on disparate groups of people who converge in the Nevada desert in the aftermath of a worldwide attack by a powerful extraterrestrial race. With the other people of the world, they launch a counterattack on July 4—Independence Day in the United States.
While promoting Stargate in Europe, Emmerich conceived the film while answering a question about his belief in the existence of alien life. Devlin and Emmerich decided to incorporate a large-scale attack having noticed that aliens in most invasion films travel long distances in outer space only to remain hidden when reaching Earth. Shooting began on July 28, 1995, in New York City, and the film was completed on October 8, 1995.
Considered a significant turning point in the history of the Hollywood blockbuster, Independence Day was at the forefront of the large-scale disaster film and sci-fi resurgence of the mid-late 1990s. It was released worldwide on July 3, 1996, but began showing on July 2 (the same day the film's story begins) in original release as a result of a high level of anticipation among moviegoers. The film received mixed reviews, with praise for the performances, musical score and visual effects but criticism for its characters. It grossed over $817.4 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing film of 1996, surpassing Twister and Mission: Impossible. Independence Day also became the second-highest-grossing film ever at the time, behind Jurassic Park (1993). The film won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Sound.
The sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence, was released 20 years later on June 24, 2016, as part of a planned series of films.
On July 2, 1996, an enormous extraterrestrial mothership enters Earth's orbit and deploys multiple saucers, each 15 miles (24 kilometers) wide, over major cities.
U.S. Marine Captain Steven Hiller is deployed despite being on leave; his girlfriend, Jasmine Dubrow, decides to flee Los Angeles with her son, Dylan. In New York City, David Levinson, an MIT-trained satellite technician, decodes a signal embedded within global satellite transmissions, realizing it is the aliens' countdown for a coordinated attack. With help from his ex-wife, White House Communications Director Constance Spano, David and his father Julius reach the Oval Office and alert President Thomas Whitmore.
Whitmore orders evacuations of New York City, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., but it is too late. Each saucer fires a destructive beam, incinerating each targeted city, killing millions. Whitmore, the Levinsons, and a few others escape aboard Air Force One as Washington, New York, Los Angeles, and other cities around the world are destroyed. Meanwhile, Jasmine, Dylan, and their dog Boomer take shelter in a tunnel's inspection alcove, emerging once the destruction is over.
On July 3, counterattacks against the invaders are thwarted by the alien warships' force fields. Each saucer launches a swarm of shielded fighters, decimating the human fighter squadrons and military bases. Hiller, a squadron leader, lures an enemy fighter into the Grand Canyon before ejecting from his plane, causing the fighter to crash in the Mojave Desert. He subdues the downed alien and flags down a convoy of refugees, transporting the alien to Area 51, where Whitmore's group has landed.
Defense Secretary Albert Nimzicki reveals that a government faction has been involved in a UFO conspiracy since 1947 when one of the invaders' fighters crashed in Roswell. Area 51 houses the now-refurbished ship, and three alien corpses recovered from the crash. As chief scientist Dr Brackish Okun examines the alien captured by Steven, it awakens, telepathically invading Okun's mind, and launching a psychic attack against Whitmore before it is killed by Secret Service agents and military personnel. Whitmore reveals what he learned when they were linked: the invaders plan to annihilate Earth's inhabitants after stealing their natural resources, as they have done to other planets before them.
Whitmore reluctantly authorizes a trial nuclear attack against a saucer above Houston, but the ship survives. Jasmine and Dylan commandeer a fire truck and rescue a handful of survivors, including a critically injured First Lady Marilyn Whitmore. Though they are found by Hiller and taken to Area 51, Marilyn dies shortly after being reunited with her family.
On July 4, taking inspiration from his father, David Levinson writes a computer virus to disrupt the aliens' shields' operating system and devises a plan to upload it into the mothership from the refurbished alien fighter, which Hiller volunteers to pilot. The U.S. military contacts surviving airborne squadrons around the world through Morse code to organize a united counter-offensive. Lacking pilots, Whitmore and General William Grey enlist volunteers with flight experience, including retired combat pilot Russell Casse, to fly the remaining jets at Area 51; Whitmore leads an attack on a saucer bearing down on the base, overseen by Grey.
Hiller marries Jasmine with David and Constance in attendance before Hiller and Levinson leave on the mission. Entering the mothership, they upload the virus and deploy a nuclear missile, destroying the aliens' reinforcements. With the aliens' shields deactivated, Whitmore's squadron combat the enemy fighters, but exhaust their ammunition before they can destroy the saucer. As the saucer prepares to fire on the base, Russell's last missile is unable to fire; he sacrifices himself by crashing into the saucer's weapon, destroying the warship. Military forces worldwide are notified of the alien ships' critical weakness and destroy the others. As humanity rejoices, Hiller and Levinson reunite with their families.
The idea for the film came when Emmerich and Devlin were in Europe promoting their film Stargate. A reporter asked Emmerich why he made a film with content like Stargate if he did not believe in aliens. Emmerich stated he was still fascinated by the idea of an alien arrival, and further explained his response by asking the reporter to imagine what it would be like to wake up one morning and to discover 15-mile-wide spaceships were hovering over the world's largest cities. Emmerich then turned to Devlin and said, "I think I have an idea for our next film."
Emmerich and Devlin decided to expand on the idea by incorporating a large-scale attack, with Devlin saying he was bothered by the fact that "for the most part, in alien invasion movies, they come down to Earth and they're hidden in some back field …[o]r they arrive in little spores and inject themselves into the back of someone's head." Emmerich agreed by asking Devlin if arriving from across the galaxy, "would you hide on a farm or would you make a big entrance?" The two wrote the script during a month-long vacation in Mexico, and just one day after they sent it out for consideration, 20th Century Fox chairman Peter Chernin greenlit the screenplay. Pre-production began just three days later in February 1995. The U.S. military originally intended to provide personnel, vehicles, and costumes for the film; however, they backed out when the producers refused to remove the script's Area 51 references.
A then-record 3,000-plus special effects shots would ultimately be required for the film. The shoot utilized on-set, in-camera special effects more often than computer-generated effects in an effort to save money and get more authentic pyrotechnic results. Many of these shots were accomplished at Hughes Aircraft in Culver City, California, where the film's art department, motion control photography teams, pyrotechnics team, and model shop were headquartered[dubious ]. The production's model-making department built more than twice as many miniatures for the production than had ever been built for any film before by creating miniatures for buildings, city streets, aircraft, landmarks, and monuments. The crew also built miniatures for several of the spaceships featured in the film, including a 30-foot (9.1 m) destroyer model and a version of the mother ship spanning 12 feet (3.7 m). City streets were recreated, then tilted upright beneath a high-speed camera mounted on a scaffolding filming downwards. An explosion would be ignited below the model, and flames would rise towards the camera, engulfing the tilted model and creating the rolling "wall of destruction" look seen in the film. A model of the White House was also created, covering 10 feet (3.0 m) by 5 feet (1.5 m), and was used in forced-perspective shots before being destroyed in a similar fashion for its destruction scene. The detonation took a week to plan and required 40 explosive charges.
The film's aliens were designed by production designer Patrick Tatopoulos. The actual aliens in the film are diminutive and based on a design Tatopoulos drew when tasked by Emmerich to create an alien that was "both familiar and completely original". These creatures wear "bio-mechanical" suits that are based on another design Tatopoulos pitched to Emmerich. These suits were 8 feet (2.4 m) tall, equipped with 25 tentacles, and purposely designed to show it could not sustain a person inside so it would not appear to be a "man in a suit".
Christopher Weaver, founder of video game publisher Bethesda Softworks consulted with the movie's production team, Centropolis Films, and provided scientific collaboration. Dean Devlin used Weaver as the basis for the film character David Levinson.
Principal photography began on July 28, 1995, in New York City. A second unit gathered plate shots and establishing shots of Manhattan, Washington, D.C., an RV community in Flagstaff, Arizona, and the Very Large Array on the Plains of San Agustin, New Mexico. The main crew also filmed in nearby Cliffside Park, New Jersey before moving to the former Kaiser Steel mill in Fontana, California to film the post-attack Los Angeles sequences. The production then moved to Wendover, Utah, and West Wendover, Nevada, where the deserts doubled for Imperial Valley, and the Wendover Airport doubled for the El Toro and Area 51 exteriors. It was here where Pullman filmed his pre-battle speech. Immediately before filming the scene, Devlin and Pullman decided to add "Today, we celebrate our Independence Day!" to the end of the speech. At the time, the production was nicknamed "ID4" because Warner Bros. owned the rights to the title because of a film from 1983 which is also called Independence Day. Devlin had hoped that if Fox executives noticed the addition in dailies, the impact of the new dialogue would help them to win the rights to the title. Pullman had stated in a 2020 interview that Fox had otherwise been aiming to use Doomsday for the film's release to match with other disaster films of the time, and Devlin and Emmerich had hoped the impact of this speech scene would help win Fox over to the Independence Day name. The right to use the title was eventually won two weeks later.
The production team moved to the Bonneville Salt Flats to film three scenes, then returned to California to film in various places around Los Angeles, including Hughes Aircraft where sets for the cable company and Area 51 interiors were constructed at a former aircraft plant. Sets for the latter included corridors containing windows that were covered with blue material. The filmmakers originally intended to use the chroma key technique to make it appear as if an activity was happening on the other side of the glass, but the composited images were not added to the final print because production designers decided the blue panels gave the sets a "clinical look". The attacker hangar set contained an attacker mockup 65 feet (20 m) wide that took four months to build. The White House interior sets used had already been built for The American President and had previously been used for Nixon. Principal photography completed on October 8, 1995, after 72 days of filming.
The film initially depicted Russell Casse being rejected as a volunteer for the July 4 aerial counteroffensive because of his alcoholism. He then uses a stolen missile tied to his red biplane to carry out his suicide mission. According to Dean Devlin, test audiences responded well to the scene's irony and comedic value. However, the scene was re-shot to include Russell's acceptance as a volunteer, his crash course on flying modern fighter aircraft, and him flying an F/A-18 instead of the biplane. Devlin preferred the alteration because the viewer now witnesses Russell ultimately making the decision to sacrifice his life, and seeing the biplane keeping pace and flying amongst F/A-18s was "just not believable". Five days before its scheduled Mann Plaza premiere.
The Grammy Award-winning score for the film was composed by David Arnold and recorded with an orchestra of 90, a choir of 46, "and every last ounce of stereotypical Americana he could muster for the occasion". The film's producer Dean Devlin commented that "you can leave it up to a Brit to write some of the most rousing and patriotic music in the history of American cinema." The soundtrack has received two official CD releases. RCA released a 50-minute album at the time of the film's release, then in 2010, La-La Land Records released a limited-edition, two-disc CD set that comprised the complete score plus 12 alternate cues. The premiere of Independence Day live took place at the Royal Albert Hall in September 2016, with the film's score performed live for a screening of the film. This celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the film's release, and the event also featured a pre-film talk by David Arnold.
While the film was still in post-production, Fox began an expensive marketing campaign to help promote the film, beginning with the airing of a dramatic commercial during Super Bowl XXX, for which it paid $1.3 million. The film's subsequent success at the box office resulted in a trend of using Super Bowl air time to begin the advertising campaigns for potential blockbusters.
Fox's Licensing and Merchandising division also entered into co-promotional deals with Apple Inc. The co-marketing project was dubbed "The Power to Save the World" campaign, in which the company used footage of David using his PowerBook laptop in their print and television advertisements. Trendmasters entered a merchandising deal with the film's producers to create a line of tie-in toys. In exchange for product placement, Fox also entered into co-promotional deals with Molson Coors Brewing Company and Coca-Cola.
The film was marketed with several taglines, including: "We've always believed we weren't alone. On July 4, we'll wish we were", "Earth. Take a good look. It could be your last", and "Don't make plans for August". The weekend before the film's release, the Fox Network aired a half-hour special on the film, the first third of which was a spoof news report on the events that happen in the film. Roger Ebert attributed most of the film's early success to its teaser trailers and marketing campaigns, acknowledging them as "truly brilliant".
The film had its official premiere held at Los Angeles' now-defunct Mann Plaza Theater on June 25, 1996. It was then screened privately at the White House for President Bill Clinton and his family before receiving a nationwide release in the United States on July 2, 1996, a day earlier than its previously scheduled opening.
After a six-week, $30 million marketing campaign, Independence Day was released on a THX certified VHS on November 22, 1996. A LaserDisc release came out at roughly the same time, which included audio commentary, theatrical trailers, deleted scenes, and a bundled soundtrack CD. The film sold 22 million copies in North America, becoming the best selling live-action video.
The film became available on DVD on June 27, 2000, and has since been re-released, in several different versions of this format, with varying supplemental material, including one instance where it was packaged with a lenticular cover. A special edition of the film was included on the DVD as well, which features nine minutes of additional footage not seen in the original theatrical release. Independence Day became available on Blu-ray in the United Kingdom on December 24, 2007, and in North America on March 11, 2008 and in Australia on March 5, 2008. The initial single-disc releases only feature the theatrical cut and a few extras, as per the single-disc DVDs. For its 2016 twentieth anniversary, the film was re-released on two-disc Blu-ray and DVD, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, and Digital HD. The 20th-anniversary editions feature both the theatrical and extended versions, all the extras of the previous 2-disc DVDs and more.
Independence Day was originally scheduled to air on Fox on September 16, 2001, but was cancelled following the September 11 attacks, as the network would replace it with a repeat airing of There's Something About Mary.
In Lebanon, certain Jewish- and Israel-related content in the film was censored. One cut scene involved Judd Hirsch's character donning a kippah, and leading soldiers and White House officials in a Jewish prayer. Other removed footage showed Israeli and Arab troops working together in preparation for countering the alien invasion. The Lebanese Shi'a Islamist militant group Hezbollah called for Muslims to boycott the film, describing it as "propaganda for the so-called genius of the Jews and their concern for humanity." In response, Jewish actor Jeff Goldblum said: "I think Hezbollah has missed the point. The film is not about American Jews saving the world; it's about teamwork among people of different religions and nationalities to defeat a common enemy."
The film had both its twentieth anniversary and premiere at a special live-orchestral screening performance at the Royal Albert Hall on September 22, 2016. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by the original orchestrator Nicholas Dodd, performed the score live during the film, and the film's composer, David Arnold, was a presenter at the event.
Independence Day was the highest-grossing film of 1996, beating other blockbusters of that year such as Twister, Scream, Space Jam, Mission: Impossible, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Rock and Eraser. The film had its preview screenings on July 2, 1996, grossing $11.1 million from 2,433 theaters. At that point, it had the biggest pre-opening of any film, smashing the six-year record held by Die Hard 2. The next day on July 3, the film officially opened to the public with $17.4 million. During its second day of release, the film earned $17.3 million, making it the highest Thursday gross. For six years, Independence Day would hold this record until 2002 when it was taken by Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. It earned $104.3 million in its opening week, including $96.1 million during its five-day holiday opening, and $50.2 million during its opening weekend. Independence Day stayed in the number-one spot for three consecutive weeks before being displaced by A Time to Kill. Moreover, it destroyed Terminator 2: Judgment Day's record for scoring the largest five-day Wednesday gross of any film, as well as the biggest July opening weekend. The combined total for the five-day Wednesday opening increased to $190 million, dethroning the $158.6 million record held by John Lasseter's computer-animated film Toy Story. In addition, the film had the second-highest opening weekend of any movie, behind Batman Forever. All three figures broke records set by Jurassic Park three years earlier. Its successor, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, claimed all three records when it was released in 1997. That same year, Men in Black surpassed Independence Day for having the highest July opening weekend and the largest three-day Fourth of July opening weekend. Despite this, the film would continue to hold the record for having the highest five-day Fourth of July Wednesday opening until Men in Black II took in 2002.
It took 12 days for Independence Day to earn over $150 million, becoming the quickest film to do so. Meanwhile, the film teamed up with Phenomenon to rule the box office, outstanding rival films like Courage Under Fire and Nickelodeon's Harriet the Spy. Independence Day continued to draw in crowds while the Summer Olympics event was going on in Atlanta, Georgia. In just 21 days, it became the fastest film to approach the $200 million mark. The film would hold this record for three years until it was surpassed by Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace in 1999. By the end of July 1996, Independence Day had lost 38% of its audience, but it was able to top Ghostbusters, Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire and Ghost, becoming the fourteen-highest domestic grossing film of all time. It reached $230 million within the first month of release, beating Beverly Hills Cop. On August 9, 1996, the film would cross the $250 million mark at the box office. Halfway through the month, Independence Day became the eighth-highest domestic grosser, which crossed over Jaws.
Independence Day grossed $306,169,268 in the United States and Canada and $511,231,623 in other territories during its theatrical run. The combined worldwide total of $817,400,891 came second only to the worldwide earnings of Jurassic Park as the highest of all time. It also took The Lion King's record for becoming the second-highest-grossing film of all time. For over 20 years, the film would hold the record for being the highest-grossing film starring Will Smith until 2019 when it was surpassed by the live-action version of Aladdin. The film grossed a record $10.5 million in its opening weekend in Germany. Box Office Mojo estimates that the film sold over 69.26 million tickets in the US and Canada. Hoping to capitalize on the film's success, several studios released large-scale disaster films, and the already rising interest in science fiction-related media was further increased by the film's popularity.
A month after the film's release, jewelry designers and marketing consultants reported an increased interest in dolphin-themed jewelry, as the character Jasmine (Vivica A. Fox) wears dolphin earrings, and is presented with a wedding ring featuring a gold dolphin.
Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 67% of 78 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 6.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The plot is thin and so is character development, but as a thrilling, spectacle-filled summer movie, Independence Day delivers." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 59 out of 100 based on 19 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.
Critics wrote that the film has "cardboard" and "stereotypical" characters, and weak dialogue. However, the shot of the White House's destruction has been declared a milestone in visual effects and one of the most memorable scenes of the 1990s. In a 2010 poll, readers of Entertainment Weekly rated it the second-greatest summer film of the previous 20 years, ranking only behind Jurassic Park.
Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle gave the film his highest rating, declaring it the "apotheosis" of Star Wars. Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly gave it a B+ for living up to its massive hype, adding "charm is the foremost of this epic's contemporary characteristics. The script is witty, knowing, cool." Eight years later, Entertainment Weekly would rate the film as one of the best disaster films of all time. Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times felt that the film did an "excellent job conveying the boggling immensity of [the] extraterrestrial vehicles […] and panic in the streets" and the scenes of the alien attack were "disturbing, unsettling and completely convincing".
However, the film's nationalistic overtones were widely criticized by reviewers outside the U.S. Movie Review UK described the film as "a mish-mash of elements from a wide variety of alien invasion movies and gung-ho American jingoism." The speech during which Whitmore states that victory in the coming war would see the entire world henceforth describe July 4 as its Independence Day, was described in a BBC review as "the most jaw-droppingly pompous soliloquy ever delivered in a mainstream Hollywood movie." In 2003, readers of Empire voted the scene that contained this speech as the "Cheesiest Movie Moment of All-Time". Conversely, Empire critic Kim Newman gave the film a five-star rating in the magazine's original review of the film.
Several critics expressed disappointment with the quality of the film's special effects. Newsweek's David Ansen claimed the special effects were of no better caliber than those seen nineteen years earlier in Star Wars. Todd McCarthy of Variety felt the production's budget-conscious approach resulted in "cheesy" shots that lacked in quality relative to the effects present in films directed by James Cameron and Steven Spielberg. In his review, Roger Ebert took note of a lack of imagination in the spaceship and creature designs. Gene Siskel expressed the same sentiments in his At the Movies review of the film.[dead link]
American Film Institute lists
|CAS Awards||Best Sound||Chris Carpenter, Bob Beemer, Bill W. Benton and Jeff Wexler||Nominated|
|Academy Awards||Best Sound||Nominated|
|Best Visual Effects||Volker Engel, Douglas Smith, Clay Pinney and Joe Viskocil||Won|
|Czech Lion Awards||The most successful movie in Cinemas.||Roland Emmerich||Won|
|Saturn Awards||Best Special Effects||Volker Engel, Douglas Smith, Clay Pinney and Joe Viskocil||Won|
|Best Science Fiction Film||Dean Devlin||Won|
|Best Director||Roland Emmerich||Won|
|Best Writer||Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin||Nominated|
|Best Costumes||Joseph A. Porro||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor||Brent Spiner||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actress||Vivica A. Fox||Nominated|
|Best Young Actor||James Duval||Nominated|
|Best Music||David Arnold||Nominated|
|Best Actor||Jeff Goldblum||Nominated|
|Kids' Choice Awards||Favorite Movie Actor||Nominated|
|Hugo Awards||Best Dramatic Presentation||N/A||Nominated|
|Young Artist Awards||Best Young Actor – Age 10 or Under||Ross Bagley||Nominated|
|People's Choice Awards||Favorite Dramatic Motion Picture||N/A||Won|
|MTV Movie Awards||Best Action Sequence||Aliens blow up cities||Nominated|
|Best Male Performance||Will Smith||Nominated|
|Best Breakthrough Performance||Vivica A. Fox||Nominated|
|Best Kiss||Will Smith and Vivica A. Fox||Won|
|Grammy Awards||Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television||David Arnold||Won|
|Satellite Awards||Outstanding Visual Effects||Volker Engel, Douglas Smith, Clay Pinney and Joe Viskocil||Won|
|Outstanding Film Editing||David Brenner||Won|
|Mainichi Film Awards||Best Foreign Language Film||N/A||Won|
|Japanese Academy Awards||N/A||Nominated|
|Blockbuster Entertainment Awards||Favorite Actor – Sci-Fi||Will Smith||Won|
|Universe Reader's Choice Awards||Best Actor||Won|
|Best Supporting Actress||Vivica A. Fox||Won|
|Best Science Fiction Film||N/A||Won|
|Best Special Effects||Volker Engel, Douglas Smith, Clay Pinney and Joe Viskocil||Won|
|Best Director||Roland Emmerich||Won|
|Best Score||David Arnold||Won|
|Best Cinematography||Karl Walter Lindenlaub||Won|
|Best Writing||Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin||Won|
|Golden Raspberry Awards||Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million||Nominated|
|Stinkers Bad Movie Awards||Worst Screenplay for a Film Grossing Over $100 Million||Nominated|
|Online Film & Television Association Awards||Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Horror Picture||Dean Devlin||Nominated|
|Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Horror Actor||Will Smith||Nominated|
|Best Film Editing||David Brenner||Nominated|
|Best Sound||Chris Carpenter
Bill W. Benton
|Best Sound Effects||Sandy Gendler & Val Kuklowsky||Nominated|
|Best Visual Effects||Volker Engel
Disaster elements portrayed in Twister and Independence Day (both in 1996) represented a significant turning point for Hollywood blockbuster films. With advancements in CGI special effects, events depicting mass destruction became commonplace in films that soon followed, such as Dante's Peak and Volcano (both in 1997), as well as Deep Impact and Armageddon (both in 1998). The trend continued throughout the 2000s and 2010s, evident in films such as three of Emmerich's films The Day After Tomorrow (2004), 2012 (2009), and White House Down (2013), as well as other blockbusters like Titanic (1997), Transformers (2007), and The Avengers (2012).
Main article: Independence Day (book series)
Author Stephen Molstad wrote a tie-in novel to help promote the film shortly before its release. The novel goes into further detail on the characters, situations, and overall concepts not explored in the film. The novel presents the film's finale as originally scripted, with the character played by Randy Quaid stealing a missile and roping it to his cropduster biplane.
Following the film's success, a prequel novel entitled Independence Day: Silent Zone was written by Molstad in February 1998. The novel is set in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and details the early career of Dr. Brackish Okun.
Molstad wrote a third novel, Independence Day: War in the Desert in July 1999. Set in Saudi Arabia on July 3, it centers around Captain Cummins and Colonel Thompson, the two Royal Air Force officers seen receiving the Morse code message in the film (Americanised ranks corrected to Squadron Leader and Group Captain respectively in the Omnibus reissue). A Marvel comic book was also written based on the first two novelizations.
On August 4, 1996, BBC Radio 1 broadcast the one-hour play Independence Day UK, written, produced, and directed by Dirk Maggs, a spin-off depicting the alien invasion from a British perspective. None of the original cast was present. Dean Devlin gave Maggs permission to produce an original version, on the condition that he did not reveal certain details of the movie's plot, and that the British were not depicted as saving the day. Independence Day UK was set up to be similar to the 1938 radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds—the first 20 minutes were live.
In 1996 a "behind-the-scenes" multimedia CD-ROM titled Inside Independence Day was released for Microsoft Windows and Macintosh; it includes storyboards for the film, sketches, movie clips, and a preview of the Independence Day video game.
An Independence Day video game was released in February 1997 for the PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and PC, each version receiving mostly tepid reviews. The multi-view shooter game contains various missions to perform, with the ultimate goal of destroying the aliens' primary weapon. A pinball machine themed to the film was released by Sega in June 1996. Plus, a wireless mobile version was released in 2005. A video game entitled ID4 Online was released in 2000.
Trendmasters released a toy line for the film in 1996. Each action figure, vehicle or playset came with a 3+1⁄2 inch floppy disk that contained an interactive computer game.
Main article: Independence Day: Resurgence
In June 2011, Devlin confirmed that he and Emmerich had written a treatment for two sequels to form a trilogy; both expressed the desire for Will Smith to return. In October 2011, however, discussions over Smith returning were halted, due to Fox's refusal to provide the $50 million salary demanded by Smith for the two sequels. Emmerich, however, made assurances that the films would be shot back-to-back, regardless of Smith's involvement.
In March 2013, Emmerich stated that the titles of the new films would be ID: Forever – Part I and ID: Forever – Part II. In November 2014, the sequel was given the green light by 20th Century Fox, with a release date of June 24, 2016. This would be a stand-alone sequel, that would not split into two parts as originally planned, with filming beginning in May 2015 and casting being done after the studio locked down Emmerich as the director of the film. In December 2014, Devlin confirmed that Emmerich would indeed be directing the sequel. On June 22, 2015, Emmerich announced the official title, Independence Day: Resurgence.
With respect to Smith's decision not to return to film a sequel, Emmerich told Screen Crush that: "In the very beginning, I wanted to work with him and he was excited to be in it but then after a while he was tired of sequels, and he did another science fiction film, which was his father-son story After Earth, so he opted out."
Independence Day: Resurgence was released on June 24, 2016.