Independence Day Director Reveals the Real Reason the Film Centers on July 4th

While there are surely enough thematic similarities between the fictional narrative of Independence Day and America's real-world history of escaping British rule to justify the film earning its title, as well as the dates upon which the events of the film unfold adding significance, there ended up being a slightly different reason why the film earned that title, largely based on beating out a potential cinematic contender back in 1996. Director Roland Emmerich recently pointed out that, upon finding out that Tim Burton's Mars Attacks! was also set for 1996, by ensuring the film's title was "Independence Day," it would help him secure a July 4th release date and be ahead of Burton's alien-invasion film.

"We also learned that Warner Bros. ... I had a good friend, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, who became later a producer of the Transformers movies. I called him up and said, 'I heard that my favorite director, Tim Burton, is also doing something like this,'" Emmerich explained to "And he said, 'Yes, yes, yes.' And I said, 'When is that coming out?' And he said, 'Oh, that's slated for August.' And then I said to Dean, 'We have to do this earlier.' And he said like, 'Is that possible?' I said, 'Yeah, everything is possible,' and that's why the movie is called 'Independence Day,' because we had to find some sort of a way to tie it to a date which was before August."

Understandably, the film would only need to earn minor tweaks to alter a script to specifically center around the holiday, though it would go on to add extra relevance in Bill Pullman's famous speech as President Whitmore in which he compares humanity's last stand against otherworldly threats to the American Revolution.

Interestingly, that speech and its impact helped both secure its title and release date, despite that scene being filmed before the title was guaranteed. This came as a major relief to Emmerich, who was not at all a fan of the other titles 20th Century Fox had attempted to use.

"We did, [for] the first time, an auction. We auctioned the film and there were certain conditions," Emmerich confessed. "We wanted to have the title pre-approved, the script pre-approved, and the budget pre-approved. So they had to come to us and said, 'Oh, we tested the title and the title, Independence Day, didn't test as well as two other titles we tested.' I said, 'What are the two other two titles?' And one was 'Invasion Earth,' and the other one was 'Doomsday.' And I said, 'Did you buy them from Roger Corman?' I said, 'Only over my dead body.' That's great when you have some power, in a way. I was so convinced that Independence Day is a great, great title for a movie."

In Emmerich's upcoming film Moonfall, a mysterious force knocks the Moon from its orbit around Earth and sends it hurtling on a collision course with life as we know it. With mere weeks before impact and the world on the brink of annihilation, NASA executive and former astronaut Jo Fowler (Academy Award winner Halle Berry) is convinced she has the key to saving us all – but only one astronaut from her past, Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson, Midway) and a conspiracy theorist K.C. Houseman (John Bradley, Game of Thrones) believe her. These unlikely heroes will mount an impossible last-ditch mission into space, leaving behind everyone they love, only to find out that our Moon is not what we think it is.

Moonfall is expected to land in theaters on February 4, 2022.


What do you think of the film's title? Let us know in the comments below or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to talk all things Star Wars and horror!