The film explores the idea of a global doomsday event coinciding with the end of the Mayan Long Count Calendar'scurrent cycle on or around December 21, 2012 (the northern hemisphere's winter solstice).
Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) is a divorced father who occasionally works as a limousine driver and a writer, while his ex-wife (Amanda Peet) and children live together with her new boyfriend. In Guatemala there is word that hundreds of people have committed suicide believing the 2012 Hypothesis is true and in reaction to this, the IHC (Institute for Human Continuity), a secret organization that realizes the world is going to end, is formed, and starts construction of massive space arks beneath the Himalayan mountains in preparation for the end of the world. The governments of the world give the IHC the task to save the human race when doomsday happens.
When they discover that a global cataclysm caused by the Earth crust displacement will occur faster than expected, they must race to these ships in order to save the human race before all is lost. Los Angeles is completely destroyed by massive earthquakes, Yellowstone Supervolcano erupts, massive earthquakes occur in South America and The Vaticancrumbles into oblivion. As worldwide floodings get worse, the US government declares the end of the world. A group of survivors, including Jackson Curtis and his family fight their way to China before they can board the great arks and save themselves from the gigantic tidal waves sweeping across the Earth.
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 filmsIndependence Day (1996) and The Day After Tomorrow (2004). The film was shopped around with a production budget of $200 million. 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.
Filming was originally scheduled to begin in Los Angeles, California, in July 2008, but instead commenced inVancouver 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. Sony Pictures Imageworks was 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, Jackson's ex-wife.
- Oliver Platt as Carl Anheuser, the President's Chief of Staff.
- Thandie Newton as Laura Wilson, the First Daughter.
- Danny Glover as Thomas Wilson, the President of the United States
- Woody Harrelson as Charlie Frost, a man who prophesies the end of the world and is considered crazy by others. Alex Jones has claimed Harrelson told him that Frost's character was based on him. Harrelson compared his character to the mythological Greek figure Cassandra, whose predictions were dismissed.
- Ng Chin Han as Lin Pang, a worker in Tibet.
- Thomas McCarthy as Gordon, Kate's current boyfriend and a plastic surgeon.
- Liam James as Noah Curtis, Jackson and Kate's son.
- Morgan Lily as Lilly Curtis, Jackson and Kate's daughter.
- Zlatko Buric as Yuri.
On November 12, 2008, the 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 five-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.
2012 was originally scheduled to be released on July 10, 2009. The release date was changed to November 13, 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 will give more time to the production. IGN AU panned the film calling it "terrible, wonderfully terrible."
- ^ http://www.welt.de/kultur/article4680874/Roland-Emmerich-dreht-Shakespeare-in-Babelsberg.html
- ^ Fleming, Michael (February 19, 2008). "Studios vie for Emmerich's 2012". Variety. Retrieved July 14, 2008.
- ^ a b c d e Simmons, Leslie; Borys Kit (June 2, 2008). "Danny Glover circles 2012". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 14, 2008.
- ^ Fleming, Michael (February 21, 2008). "Sony buys Emmerich's 2012". Variety. Retrieved July 14, 2008.
- ^ Siegel, Tatiana (May 19, 2008). "John Cusack set for 2012". Variety. Retrieved July 14, 2008.
- ^ a b Frater, Patrick (July 9, 2008). "Chin Han makes date with 2012". Variety. Retrieved July 14, 2008.
- ^ "Big Hollywood films shooting despite strike threat". Reuters. August 1, 2008. Retrieved August 5, 2008.
- ^ Giardina, Carolyn (August 13, 2008). "SPI's future includes 2012". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 13, 2008.
- ^ Foywonder, The (October 02, 2009). "Five Hilariously Disaster-ffic Minutes of 2012". Dred Central. Retrieved October 02, 2009.
- ^ Simmons, Leslie (May 19, 2008). "John Cusack ponders disaster flick". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 14, 2008.
- ^ Simmons, Leslie; Borys Kit (June 13, 2008). "Amanda Peet is 2012 lead". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 14, 2008.
- ^ Rich, Katey (15 July 2008). "Woody Harrelson Trying To Survive Armageddon". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 2009-02-03.
- ^ Adler, Shawn (July 14, 2008). "EXCLUSIVE: Woody Harrelson Joins Roland Emmerich’s World-Ending 2012". MTV Movies Blog (MTV). Retrieved July 14, 2008.
- ^ Kit, Borys (July 1, 2008). "Thomas McCarthy joins 2012". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 14, 2008.
- ^ "Morgan Lily". Variety. August 3, 2008. Retrieved October 29, 2008.
- ^ Pickard, Anna (November 25, 2008). "2012: a cautionary tale about marketing". The Guardian. Retrieved December 10, 2008.
- ^ Billington, Alex (November 15, 2008). "Roland Emmerich's 2012 Viral - Institute for Human Continuity". FirstShowing.net. Retrieved December 10, 2008.
- ^ Connor, Steve (17 October 2009). "Relax, the end isn't nigh". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
- ^ http://farewellatlantis.com/
- ^ a b c Graser, Mark (September 23, 2009). "Sony readies 'roadblock' for 2012". Variety. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
- ^ DiOrio, Carl (January 20, 2009). 2012 release date pushed back. Retrieved January 20, 2009.
- Official site and trailer
- 5-minute film scene released by Columbia Pictures
- 2012 at the Internet Movie Database
- 2012 at Allmovie
- The Institute for Human Continuity, a website set up as part of the 2012 movie viral marketing campaign
- This Is The End, another website part of the viral marketing campaign ostensibly set up by Charlie Frost, a fictional character in the film 2012
- Corruption theory, another website part of the viral marketing campaign ostensibly set up by a whistleblower former employee of the Institute for Human Continuity