After tackling World War II in 2019's Midway, director Roland Emmerich returns to his disaster movie roots with Moonfall — a project that would give Chicken Little serious heart palpitations. The upcoming film, which features an ensemble cast and a plot in which the moon is knocked out of its orbit and onto a collision course with Earth, is hopefully the start of a larger sci-fi franchise, according to executive producer and co-writer Harald Kloser.
"Moonfall is written as the beginning of a saga. It opens the door onto an epic adventure," he said during a recent interview with Deadline, which mainly focused on the Canada-based shoot during COVID-19. Health safety measures (such as 10,000 COVID tests) added an extra $5-6 million to the already massive $140 million budget. Luckily, there was only one reported case of the virus four days before production ended, and even then, it turned out to be a false positive.
To date, Emmerich has only helmed one sequel: 2016's Independence Day: Resurgence. He and Dean Devlin hoped to kickstart a series of films with their Americanized take on Godzilla in 1998, but that plan backfired spectacularly. Also part of the aforementioned Deadline conversation, the director admitted that the last year has felt like one of his classic end-of-days features like 2012. "Everyone tells me the pandemic feels like a never-ending Roland Emmerich movie, like a Roland Emmerich movie in slow motion," the filmmaker, who co-wrote the script with Kloser and Spenser Cohen, said with a laugh.
Moonfall is currently slated to open in theaters this October, but with so many tentpoles being delayed by the health crisis, there is always the chance that it'll be pushed into 2022 or sold to a streaming service. However, since the feature is an independent movie, it apparently can't go straight to streaming.
"I’m not against streamers. People have very good TVs these days. But my movies are meant for the big screen," Emmerich said. "Independent movies are often financed by independent distributors. Even if someone wanted to, we couldn’t end up on a streamer. Personally, I was looking forward to seeing a movie like Dune on the big screen. That experience is hopefully something that will survive. It should survive. Going to the movie theater is a unique experience, you feel part of something."
"Per our contract, we’ll deliver it on October 22," Kloser added. "There will be many factors then as to where it will fit into the release schedule depending on the pandemic ... We hope that by talking about the process, it helps encourage others. If you take it one bite at a time and are not overwhelmed by the mountain of problems, making a movie even in this context can be achieved. By not giving up and taking it one step at a time you can get it done. Moonfall was proof of that."
Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, Charlie Plummer, John Bradley, Michael Peña, Donald Sutherland, and Carolina Bartczak make up the all-star cast.