Finding Dory, Indpendence Day 2 relying on double-dip debuts
Independence Day and Finding Nemo are returning to select multiplexes for one night only, setting the table for their sequels.
Each is being paired in double features with their cinematic successors, Independence Day: Resurgence and Finding Dory, a day before the "official" release dates. One ticket, two movies.
The double feature tactic worked well before, in grander marathons with multi-chapter franchises and ravenous fan bases, like Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Twilight.
This situation is different, since Finding Dory and Independence Day: Resurgence arrive without the drumbeat fanfare and communal fervor such franchises generate. There's only a single movie preceding each, and they've been played to death on cable television, plus generations of video formats.
Without serialized support, serious possibilities emerge for a new release. This is practically a side-by-side comparison of the two, which isn't fair to the 2016 model but that's what the studio is offering. Negative word-of-mouth rolling out of Thursday night's double features could dent the weekend box office totals and beyond.
That could explain why another big summer release, Ghostbusters, isn't using the double feature strategy. Paul Feig's reboot has been a lightning rod for criticism, for simply existing, or disturbingly in some corners for its female recasting.
Finding Dory appears safe from such harsh scrutiny, because if there's anything America loves more than Disney-Pixar animated critters it's Ellen DeGeneres, even only in voice. But how many children will comfortably, quietly sit through a double feature starting at 9 p.m.? Can't a degree of fatigue set in, taking away from their enjoyment of Dory's new adventure? (Of course, Disney's unspoken wish is for parents to be pestered into a return trip.)
Independence Day: Resurgence is a toss-up. There was never much groundswell support for a sequel, it just sort of popped up out of nowhere. The original was for many moviegoers a fun popcorn flick, that has just as many detractors. The sequel might look better in direct comparison.
Here are details for the double feature events. Theater locations are subject to change.
Finding Dory (June 16): Only ninety theaters nationwide will present Dory After Dark, starting at 9 p.m. with Finding Nemo, followed by Finding Dory. The only Tampa Bay location is Park Place Stadium 16 in Pinellas Park. In addition to the two movies, a ticket gets you a souvenir bag and an "I speak whale" button.
Independence Day: Resurgence (June 23): Twentieth Century Fox doesn't have Disney flair for exclusivity or swag. No giveaways, just a double feature at a decent time. Screenings begin at 5 p.m.
The current list of participating Tampa Bay theaters include Park Place Stadium 16 in Pinellas Park, Palm Harbor 10, Citrus Park Stadium 20 and Starlight 20 in Tampa, Regency 20 in Brandon, Hollywood 18 in Port Richey, Sundial 19 in St. Petersburg, and Centro Ybor 20 in Ybor City.