2012 is a 2009 science fiction apocalyptic disaster film based loosely on the 2012 phenomenon and directed by Roland Emmerich. The film stars John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Danny Glover, Thandie Newton, and Woody Harrelson. It was distributed by Columbia Pictures. Filming began in August 2008 in Vancouver.
The credits cite the bestselling non-fiction book Fingerprints of the Gods by author Graham Hancock as inspiration for the film, and in an interview with the London magazine Time Out Emmerich states: "I always wanted to do a biblical flood movie, but I never felt I had the hook. I first read about the Earth's Crust Displacement Theory in Graham Hancock's Fingerprints of the Gods." The film briefly references Mayanism, the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, and the 2012 phenomenon in its portrayal of cataclysmic events unfolding in the year 2012. Due to solar flare bombardment the Earth's core begins heating up at an unprecedented rate, eventually causing crustal displacement. This results in an onslaught of Doomsday event scenarios plunging the world into chaos, ranging from California falling into the Pacific Ocean, the eruption of the Yellowstone National Park caldera, massive earthquakes, and Megatsunami impacts along every coast line on the Earth. The film centers around an ensemble cast of characters as they narrowly escape multiple catastrophes in an effort to reach ships in the Himalayas, along with scientists and governments of the world who are attempting to save as many lives as they can before the disasters ensue.Reviews of the film have been mixed, with critics pointing out the impossibility of some of the Apocalyptic scenarios depicted in the film. The film ran a much criticized viral marketing campaign in the form of the fictional organization Institute for Human Continuity, a fictitious book written by Jackson Curtis entitled Farewell Atlantis, and streaming media, blog updates and radio broadcasts from the apocalyptic zealot Charlie Frost at his website entitled This Is The End.
In 2009, American geologist Adrian Helmsley meets his friend, Doctor Satnam Tsurutani, in India. Satnam has discovered that neutrinos from a massive solar flare are acting as microwaves, causing the temperature of the Earth's core to increase rapidly. Adrian informs White House Chief of Staff Carl Anheuser and US President Thomas Wilson that this will instigate a catastrophic chain of natural disasters. At the G8 summit in 2010, other heads of state and heads of government are made aware of the situation. They begin a secret project intended to ensure humanity survives, choosing 400,000 people to board a series of gigantic ships to be constructed in the Himalayas. To help fund the venture, additional individuals are allowed to purchase tickets for one billion euros apiece.
In 2012, Jackson Curtis is a writer in Los Angeles who works part-time as a limousine driver for wealthy Russian businessman Yuri Karpov. Jackson's ex-wife Kate and their children Noah and Lily live with her boyfriend, plastic surgeon and amateur pilot Gordon Silberman. Jackson takes Noah and Lily on a camping trip to Yellowstone National Park, where they meet Charlie Frost, a conspiracy theorist living as a hermit and hosting a radio show from the park. Charlie believes a theory that suggests the Mayans predicted the world would come to an end in 2012, and claims he has knowledge of a secret "space ship" project and possesses a map of their location. The family returns home as cracks develop along the San Andreas Fault in California and earthquakes occur in the San Francisco Bay area. After being informed by Yuri's twin sons that they have tickets for a special ship while he will die, Jackson grows suspicious and rents a plane to rescue his family. He collects his family and Gordon when the Earth's crust displacement begins and they escape Los Angeles as it collapses into the Pacific Ocean.
As millions die in earthquakes worldwide, the group flies to Yellowstone to retrieve Charlie's map. The group narrowly escapes as the Yellowstone Caldera erupts. Charlie, who stayed behind to broadcast the eruption, is killed by the blast. Learning the ships are in China, the group lands in Las Vegas, where they meet Yuri, his sons, girlfriend Tamara, and pilot Sasha. They join the group and secure an Antonov An-225, fleeing Las Vegas as it is destroyed. The group flies to China, passing Hawaii as it is obliterated by volcanic eruptions. Also bound for the ships aboard Air Force One are Anheuser, Adrian, and First Daughter Laura Wilson. President Wilson remains in Washington D.C. and is killed by a giant tsunami that sends the USS John F. Kennedy crashing into the White House. With the Vice President dead and the Speaker of the House missing, Anheuser appoints himself acting president.
Arriving in China in a crash-landing that kills Sasha, Yuri and his sons are taken to the ships, stranding the Curtis family, Gordon, and Tamara, who do not possess tickets. After leaving the crash site, the group is picked up by Nima, a Buddhist monk. They sneak into an ark through its hydraulics chamber with the help of Nima's brother Tenzin, a welder for the ark project. Meanwhile, Satnam and his family are stranded in India after their airlift fails to arrive. In his last moments, Satnam calls Adrian, informing him that an uncharted tsunami is engulfing India and heading towards the arks. Anheuser orders the arks sealed, trapping thousands outside. Adrian convinces the G8 leaders to let the remaining people board. As the ark's boarding gate is lowered and then raised, Yuri falls to his death getting his two sons aboard. Gordon falls between the gears and dies. A large drill then falls and becomes lodged between the gears, preventing the gate from closing and rendering the ship unable to start its engines. The tsunami begins flooding the ark, setting it adrift. Tamara dies in a flooding room while crying for help. Jackson and Noah free the drill from the closing mechanism. The crew regains control of the ark, preventing a fatal collision with Mount Everest.
When the floodwater from the tsunamis recedes, satellite data shows that Africa rose in relation to sea level, and the Drakensberg mountains in KwaZulu Natal are now the highest on the planet. As three arks set sail for the Cape of Good Hope, Jackson reconciles with his family and Adrian starts a relationship with Laura. The date is now December 27, 0001.
Director Roland Emmerich and composer-producer Harald Kloser co-wrote a spec script titled 2012, which was marketed to major studios in February 2008. Nearly all studios met with Emmerich and his representatives to hear the director's budget projection and story plans, a process that the director had previously gone through with the films Independence Day (1996) and The Day After Tomorrow (2004). Later that month, Sony Pictures Entertainment won the rights for the spec script, planning to distribute it under Columbia Pictures. The studio planned to make the film for less than the estimated budget. The film was eventually made with a production budget of $200m – $260m.
Filming was originally scheduled to begin in Los Angeles, California, in July 2008, but instead commenced in Vancouver in August 2008 and concluded in January 2009. Due to the possible 2008 Screen Actors Guild strike, filmmakers set up a contingency plan for salvaging the film. Uncharted Territory, Digital Domain, Double Negative, Scanline, Sony Pictures Imageworks and others were hired to create visual effects for 2012. Thomas Wander co-wrote the score with Harald Kloser.
- John Cusack as Jackson Curtis, a science fiction book writer who occasionally works as a limousine driver
- Chiwetel Ejiofor as Adrian Helmsley, scientific advisor to the President
- Amanda Peet as Kate Curtis, Jackson's ex-wife
- Liam James as Noah Curtis, Jackson and Kate's son
- Morgan Lily as Lilly Curtis, Jackson and Kate's daughter
- Thomas McCarthy as Gordon Silberman, Kate's current boyfriend and a plastic surgeon.
- Danny Glover as Thomas Wilson, the President of the United States
- Thandie Newton as Laura Wilson, the First Daughter
- Oliver Platt as Carl Anheuser, the President's Chief of Staff
- Zlatko Burić as Yuri Karpov, a Russian billionaire
- Beatrice Rosen as Tamara, Yuri's Russian girlfriend
- Chin Han as Tenzin, a worker in Tibet
- Osric Chau as Nima, a Buddhist monk and Tenzin's brother
- John Billingsley, as Professor Frederic West, an American scientist.
- Johann Urb as Sasha, a Russian pilot
- George Segal as Tony Delgatto, an elderly traveling musician
- Blu Mankuma as Harry Helmsley, Adrian's father and Tony's musical partner
- Jimi Mistry as Dr. Satnam Tsurutani, a scientist who helps discover the events that are to come in India.
- Woody Harrelson as Charlie Frost, a conspiracy theorist disguised as Yellowstone hermit who prophesies the end of the world and is considered crazy by others. Harrelson compared his character to the mythological Greek figure Cassandra, whose predictions were dismissed
The original score for the film was composed by Harald Kloser and Thomas Wander. Singer Adam Lambert from American Idol contributed a song for the film called "Time for Miracles" and expressed his gratitude for the opportunity in an interview with MTV. The film's soundtracks consist of 24 tracks, which also includes the song "Fades Like a Photograph" by Filter and another song called "It's Not The End of The World", written by Kloser and Wander.
On November 12, 2008, the new studio released the first teaser trailer for 2012 that showed a tsunami surging over the Himalayas and interlaced a purportedly scientific message suggesting that the world would end in 2012, and that the world's governments were not preparing its population for the event. The trailer ended with a message to viewers to "find out the truth" by searching "2012" on search engines. The Guardian criticized the marketing effectiveness as "deeply flawed" and associated it with "websites that make even more spurious claims about 2012".
The studio also launched a viral marketing website operated by the fictional Institute for Human Continuity, where filmgoers could register for a lottery number to be part of a small population that would be rescued from the global destruction. David Morrison of NASA has received over 1000 inquiries from people who thought the website was genuine and has condemned it, saying "I've even had cases of teenagers writing to me saying they are contemplating suicide because they don't want to see the world end. I think when you lie on the internet and scare children in order to make a buck, that is ethically wrong." Another viral marketing website promotes Farewell Atlantis, a fictional suspense novel by the film's lead protagonist, about the events of 2012. Comcast had also organized a "roadblock campaign" to promote the film, where a two-minute scene from the film was broadcast across 450 American commercial television networks, local English and Spanish language stations, and 89 cable outlets within a 10-minute window between 10:50 PM EDT/PDT and 11:00 PM EDT/PDT on October 1, 2009. The scene featured the destruction of Los Angeles and ended with a cliffhanger, with the entire 5-minute-38-second clip made available on Comcast's Fancast web site. The trade newspaper Variety estimated that, "The stunt will put the footage in front of 90% of all households watching ad-supported TV, or nearly 110 million viewers. When combined with online and mobile streams, that could increase to more than 140 million". Sony also plans on replicating this promotion in other regions.
The studio has also released eleven featurettes and twelve interviews. The interviews are with John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Woody Harrelson, Chiwetel Ejifor, Danny Glover, Oliver Platt, Thandie Newton, Tom Macarthy, Roland Emmerich, Harald Kloser, Larry Franco and Mark Gordon. The featurettes include VFX: Tidal Waves, VFX: Earthquake In LA, VFX: Yellowstone Eruption, VFX: Vegas In Ruins, VFX: Special Practical Effects, VFX: Shot Breakdowns, Wake Up Call,B Roll 1, B Roll 2, If The World Came To An End and. Launch Cars. They have also released four film clips. Those include Airplane Escape, Engine Start, Do I Look Scared? and California Is Going Down. They also have released 4 trailers and fifteen tv spots. The Trailers are Teaser Trailer #1, Teaser Trailer #2, Theatrical Trailer #1, Theatrical Trailer #2, Theatrical Trailer #3, International Trailer and the Japenese Trailer. The TV Spots that were released include IHC, Warned Us, Fight, Hang On, One Date, Critical Acclaim, Miracles, Survive, Unite Us, Greatest Adventure, Critical Acclaim II, Hang On II, This Friday, Now Playing and Now Playing II.
2012 was originally scheduled to be released on July 10, 2009. The release date was changed to November 2009 to move out of the busy summer schedule into a time frame that the studio considered to have more potential for financial success. According to the studio, the film could have been completed for the summer release date, but the date change would give more time to the production. The film was released on November 11, 2009. It was released on Friday November 13, 2009 in Sweden, Canada and the United States, and was released on November 21, 2009 in Japan. It was given a wide release in India on November 13, 2009. In Malaysia, the film was released on Thursday November 12, 2009. In the United Kingdom, two theatres had a screening time of 8:12pm (20:12 on a 24 hour clock) to coincide with the film's title. the film was released on Thursday November 18, 2009. In the United Arab Emirates, twenty theatres had a screening time of 3:12pm (15:12 on a 24 hour clock) to coincide with the film's title. and the Movie Teaser was Shown at http://movietrail.affiliate-hunter.net
Box office Edit
2012 opened at number one with an estimated $65 million on its first weekend. 2012 opened with $225 million at the world-wide box office in it's opening weekend. The film has taken $138.8 million in the United States, which, with an estimated $455.8 million in other markets, makes a gross total of $594.6 million worldwide. Besting his previous disaster flick The Day After Tomorrow which grossed $544.2 million worldwide. The film is currently the the fourth highest grossing film of 2009 worldwide.
Critical response Edit
The film received mixed to negative reviews from film critics. Rotten Tomatoes reports that 38% of critics gave the film a positive review, based upon a sample of 200 reviews, with an average score of 5 out of 10. Critics cited numerous scientific inaccuracies, lazy script and heavy reliance on the CG visuals, while some praised the CG effects. On its "top critics" section, it fared even lower with 25% of critics giving it a positive review, based on 32 reviews, with an average score of 4.6/10. At Metacritic, the film has a score of 49 out of 100, based upon a sample of 34 reviews.
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone criticized the film by comparing it to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: "Beware 2012, which works the dubious miracle of almost matching Transformers 2 for sheer, cynical, mind-numbing, time-wasting, money-draining, soul-sucking stupidity." Roger Ebert was enthusiastic about the film, giving it 3 1/2 stars out of 4, saying it "delivers what it promises, and since no sentient being will buy a ticket expecting anything else, it will be, for its audiences, one of the most satisfactory films of the year." Both Ebert and Claudia Puig of USA Today called the film the "mother of all disaster movies".