25 Years Later: “Independence Day” hype was epic and absolutely packed Orlando theaters

FTR is kicking off it’s 25 years later series featuring classic movies turning 25 years old in 2021. You’ve probably seen them. I saw them all right here in Orlando.

Today, we’re starting right at the top. Independence Day. Arguably the blockbuster that still defines a Hollywood alien invasion.

Where I saw it: The Renaissance theater in Altamonte Springs (8 screens). It got torn down but is right up the hill from where the current AMC Altamonte Mall theater stands today.

Stars: Will Smith who was catapulting into stardom after the “Fresh Prince”. He would make “Men In Black” a year later. Along with Bill Pullman, who was coming off of “While You Were Sleeping” which proved Sandra Bullock could open a movie. And Jeff Goldblum, who was still smoking after Jurassic Park.

Memorable quote: “I’m just a little anxious to go up there and whoop ET’s ass” – Will Smith

The key scene: You could pick the first attack. But we’re going with that epic Pullman speech..

Interesting fact: There didn’t seem to be enough screens showing the movie. And this was before online ordering. Fans bought their tickets in advance but we hadn’t seen movies sell out so many theaters here in Central Florida like this in some time. Another movie released around that time, “Phenomenon” starring John Travolta, did great overflow business.

Reviewing the film now: Few films in this series will hold up such a long time later, and Independence Day, which was groundbreaking disaster stuff then, really serves as a nostalgia trip now. Roland Emmerich directed a solid “big movie” for the time it was. The best part of the film was Will Smith really leveling up to be one of the biggest stars of the next decade. If I’m flipping channels and see it, I’ll usually start watching it.

I still look back fondly on the film as the successful movie event it was. Alien Invasions haven’t been the same since.

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