At this point, it's hard to remember a time when Will Smith was not a huge movie star. This past weekend marked the 25th anniversary of the release of Independence Day, the movie that allowed Smith to transition from a star of TV comedy to a star of blockbuster action films. The actor found more than one way to celebrate Independence Day 25 years after his breakout performance, as he posted some pictures looking back at the movie, and also spent $100K on a fireworks show in New Orleans. Not to celebrate the movie, just to make sure the city got a fireworks show.
Will Smith posted a collection of photos and video to Instagram to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the release of Independence Day. If you were curious just how long it's really been, these pictures really drive it home. Everybody looks so young. Also, Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum look like two members of the world's strangest boy band here. Clearly, somebody thought a picture like this would them both look really cool, but it's just sort of weird. 25 years later it's hilarious, but also kind of awesome.
In addition to a behind the scenes shot of Will Smith and a picture with him and Jada Pinkett Smith, Will also includes a video clip of the full "Welcome to Earth" sequence, which we can all agree is by far the best scene in the movie and the moment Will Smith became a movie star.
25 years later, Will Smith made Independence Day special for a lot of people and nobody had to go to the movies. The actor, who is currently in New Orleans filming the movie Emancipation, reportedly spent $100,000 to pay for a fireworks show for the city. Last year's fireworks show was cancelled due to the pandemic and the city didn't schedule a show this year. According to THR, when Smith found out no show was planned, he paid for it himself.
It goes without saying that paying for the city's fireworks show was an incredibly awesome move that likely brought a lot of joy to a lot of people. While large gatherings for things like fireworks shows are generally allowed throughout the nation, many cities didn't have them this weekend. Back when the show needed to be scheduled and the fireworks purchased, it was unclear if the shows would be able to happen, and by the time it was clear they would be allowed, it was too late.
While Will Smith probably made good money on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, I'm not sure he was in a position back then to drop $100K on a fireworks show, so we can likely ultimately thank the movie Independence Day for helping to make Independence Day special in New Orleans 25 years later.