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. On the heels of the news that Warner Bros. might produce a sequel to 'Dumb & Dumber' 17 years after the original film, Vulture reports that 20th Century Fox is hot on the idea of back-to-back sequels to the 1996 blockbuster 'Independence Day,' with or without Will Smith leading the way. Preferably with.

The skinny: Fox has been trying to get Smith onboard for the sequels since 2009, but the negotiations hit a snag when the world's biggest star demanded $50 million in salary. (Hear hear for the 1 percent!) Two years later, with the scripts reportedly set to hit Fox before the end of 2011, the parties are talking again in the hopes that something will work out. If it doesn't, however, the studio will likely still move forward with the films; after all, 'Independence Day' made Will Smith a superstar, and you could argue that it wasn't reciprocal at the time.

Of course, as Vulture points out, perhaps the studio should do all it can to get Smith to kick alien ass once again. Box office figures are stagnant, and while it's a leap to say that's because Smith hasn't made a "Will Smith Blockbuster" since 'Hancock' in 2008, the stats are striking. As Vulture notes, between 2005 and 2008, Smith starred in five films, whose box-office grosses topped $2 billion worldwide. Considering ticket sales are down 4.4 percent year-to-date between 2010 and 2011, Hollywood could use a little Big Willie.

Smith returns to theaters in 2012 with 'Men In Black III,' a production that saw costs rise thanks to lengthy delays and script revisions. The hope for Fox is that all ducks will be in a row before going forth with Smith attached to 'ID4 2' and '3.'

[via Vulture]

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