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As Independence Day: Resurgence starts to roll out into theaters nationwide in early showings this evening, there's going to be a lot of destruction flashing before eager audience eyes. However, there's one monument you won't see on the screen tonight, or any night that you decide to watch the film, and that's Mumbai's Gateway of India. Why was that specific site left off of the destruction roster? Because the studio asked Roland Emmerich really politely.
This news comes from a piece out of The Mumbai Mirror, which was related via The Huffington Post, and in said item 20th Century Fox was implicated by a source from within the studio. According to that anonymous source, the following factors were what kept India off of the map:
Well, Indians are too touchy. Keeping the sensitivities of all the religious groups and other activists in mind, the makers were asked not to shoot in India or portray any prominent monuments being damaged.
This comes almost a year after the Central Board of Film Certification in India asked that Sony Pictures remove the scene in Pixels where the Taj Mahal was destroyed in comedic fashion. So naturally, someone in the halls of 20th Century Fox felt that instead of removing the scene eventually, they'd just pre-emptively remove it from the production process and move along like business as usual. Which, frankly, is a no-brainer when you think about it.
While one way to look at the Independence Day: Resurgence scenario is that the studio pre-emptively caved into the eventual demands of the Central Board of Film Certification, the other way to look at it is the studio is shoring up its chances at the international box-office. With the film already looking at an estimated $50 million opening in domestic grosses, versus Finding Dory's estimated $60 million second weekend, it looks like the sequel 20 years in the making may have to rely on the international market to make its money.
This strategy might have been laughed off a couple years ago, but with films like Warcraft making an absolute killing at the international box office, this could keep the plan for a potential third entry in Roland Emmerich's career-making franchise on the books. Though the $165 million budget will still be a cause for concern in the next coming weeks, the decision to appeal to the Indian film market can only help the film's chances at international film market.
So ultimately, making the decision to excise Mumbai from Independence Day: Resurgence is not only accepting an eventuality, it's hedging the film's economic bets. That, and if they would have had to remove it for the Indian censors in the long run, they can at least save some budget money for the advertising side of the house by zapping the sequence altogether.
Independence Day: Resurgence is in theaters now.