Olympus Has Fallen

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Olympus Has Fallen
Olympus Has Fallen poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Antoine Fuqua
Produced by
  • Gerard Butler
  • Alan Siegel
  • Mark Gill
Written by
  • Creighton Rothenberger
  • Katrin Benedikt
Music by Trevor Morris
Cinematography Conrad W. Hall
Edited by John Refoua
Distributed by FilmDistrict
Release dates
  • March 20, 2013 (2013-03-20) (France[1])
  • March 22, 2013 (2013-03-22) (United States)
Running time
120 minutes[2][3]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $70 million[4]
Box office $161 million[4]

Olympus Has Fallen is a 2013 American action thriller film. Directed by Antoine Fuqua, it stars Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, and Morgan Freeman, with Angela Bassett, Robert Forster, Cole Hauser, Finley Jacobsen, Ashley Judd, Melissa Leo, Dylan McDermott, Radha Mitchell, and Rick Yune in supporting roles. The film depicts a North Korean-led guerrilla assault on the White House, and focuses on Secret Service agent Mike Banning's efforts to stop them.

Olympus Has Fallen was released on March 22, 2013, by FilmDistrict and received mixed critical reception but earned over $160 million against a $70 million production budget. Olympus Has Fallen is one of two films released in 2013 that deals with a terrorist attack on the White House, the other being White House Down. A sequel titled London Has Fallen is in production.


Mike Banning (Butler), a former U.S. Army Ranger and Special Forces soldier, is the lead U.S. Secret Service agent assigned to head the U.S. Presidential Detail. He maintains a personal, friendly relationship with President Benjamin Asher (Eckhart), First Lady Margaret (Judd) and, especially, their son Connor (Jacobsen). During a Christmas evening drive from Camp David to a campaign fundraiser, a tree branch falls and strikes the front of the president’s convoy as it is driving along Route 117, making the vehicles skid out of control on black ice on a bridge. The lead vehicle crashes through the guard rail and falls into the icy river below, leaving the presidential limousine teetering on the edge of the bridge. Banning is able to save President Asher, but Margaret and two other agents are killed when their vehicle falls off the bridge and lands on the frozen river below.

Eighteen months later, Banning is working at the Treasury Department headquarters, within sight of the White House. He has been removed from the Presidential Detail due to the sight of him triggering Asher’s memories of the night his wife was killed. During a political meeting between Asher and South Korean Prime Minister Lee Tae-Woo (Keong Sim) in the Oval Office, North Korean-led terrorists, disguised as local garbagemen and a crowd of tourists, launch an aerial and ground assault of the White House and Washington, D.C. Aided into the White House by treasonous members of Prime Minister Lee’s detail, including Dave Forbes (McDermott), a former Secret Service agent now a private security contractor, and aerial cover fire from a C-130 Hercules equipped with miniguns, the attack results in the capture of the White House. Asher and several important officials are held hostage in the White House bunker, where the terrorists use a video connection to the Pentagon command center to show the execution of Prime Minister Lee. Agent Roma (Hauser) alerts the Director of the Secret Service Lynne Jacobs (Bassett) that "Olympus has fallen", shortly before his death.

The attack has been masterminded by Kang Yeonsak (Yune), a North Korean terrorist who appears to be motivated by a desire to reunify Korea. Kang seeks to use Asher's hostage status as leverage to force U.S. officials to withdraw the Seventh Fleet and U.S. forces from the Korean Peninsula, removing American opposition from a North Korean invasion of South Korea. He also seeks to destroy the American nuclear weapons stockpile by detonating them in their respective silos across the country, turning the U.S. into an irradiated wasteland as revenge for the deaths of his family (his mother having been killed by an American landmine, and his father having been executed by the North Koreans). To accomplish this, he requires the access codes to Cerberus: a fail-safe device that self-detonates any U.S. nuclear missiles during an abort, which are held by the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all of whom are present in the bunker. Asher orders the other two officials to reveal their codes to save their lives, certain that he will not give up his code.

During the assault by Kang’s forces on the front lawn, Banning joins the White House’s defenders. He falls back into the building, disables the internal surveillance and gains access to Asher’s satellite phone, which he uses to maintain contact with Jacobs and Allan Trumbull (Freeman), the Speaker of the House who is now the Acting President. Authorized to proceed, Banning’s first act is to save Connor, whom Kang plans to use to force Asher to reveal his Cerberus code. Despite resistance, Banning finds Connor hiding in the hidden tunnels behind the Lincoln bedroom walls, thanks to the training Banning had given him before, and sneaks him out of the White House before beginning reconnaissance and reducing the terrorists’ numbers one by one. This includes Forbes, but not before Banning convinces Forbes to report to Kang that he killed Banning. Meanwhile, Army Chief of Staff General Edward Clegg (Forster) convinces Trumbull to order an aerial SEAL assault on the White House in an attempt to enter through the roof and shut down Cerberus, but Kang’s team deploys an advanced anti-aircraft remote gun system called the Hydra 6, a fully automated weapons system capable of seeking targets independently. Discovering this, Banning advises Trumbull and Clegg to abort the mission, but it proceeds and the Hydra 6 annihilates all but one of the six helicopters before Banning can stop it. Kang retaliates for the attempted infiltration by killing Vice President Charlie Rodriguez (Phil Austin) on the video feed to the Pentagon.

After Banning disables Kang’s communications, Kang tries to execute Secretary of Defense Ruth McMillan (Leo) outside the White House in front of the media, but Banning intervenes, resulting in her escape. He kills several more of Kang’s men in the process. With Kang’s forces dwindling, he fakes his own death as well as Asher’s by sacrificing several of his men and the remaining hostages in a helicopter crash. However, Banning believes that Kang has faked his death and will attempt to sneak away. Kang eventually cracks Asher’s code and activates Cerberus. As Kang attempts to escape with Asher, Banning kills the remaining terrorists, but President Asher is shot by Kang in the abdomen when Asher tries to fight Kang. Banning kills Kang by stabbing him in the head with a knife after overpowering him in hand-to-hand combat. Banning then disables Cerberus with the assistance of Trumbull with only seconds to spare. During daybreak that day, Banning walks out with Asher and is received by the soldiers posted to await their arrival. Sometime after the events, Washington begins to rebuild from the terrorist attack, while Banning once again becomes head of the Presidential Detail. Then Banning, Jacobs, Clegg, and Connor observe President Asher as he addresses the public.



Olympus Has Fallen was directed by Antoine Fuqua based on a script by Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt in their first screenwriting effort. The production company Millennium Films acquired the spec script in March 2012, and Gerard Butler was cast later in the month as the star.[5] The rest of the characters were cast throughout June and July. In 2012, Millennium Films competed against Sony Pictures, which was producing White House Down (also about a takeover of the White House) to complete casting and to begin filming.[17]

Filming began in Shreveport, Louisiana, in mid-July 2012.[12] Because Olympus Has Fallen was filmed so far from its actual setting of Washington, D.C., the entire production relied heavily upon visual effects, particularly computer-generated imagery.[18] For example, computers created nearly all of the opening sequence in which the First Lady is killed in a car accident, with chroma key greenscreen technology used to composite the actors into the computer-generated snowy scenery.[18]

For scenes where actors walked in or out of the White House, a first-floor façade and entrance were built; computers added the second floor, roof, and downtown D.C. cityscape.[18] Action scenes with the White House in the background were filmed in open fields and the White House and D.C. were added in post-production.[18]


Musician and orchestral composer Trevor Morris produced the score. His past projects include shows The Tudors and The Borgias.[19] The record was released on March 15, 2013 via Relativity Music Group label. The runtime is one hour, eight minutes, and 56 seconds.


Olympus Has Fallen was released in the United States on March 22, 2013.[7] It was initially scheduled for an April 5, 2013 release, but moved to avoid competition with The Heat, which was to open at the same time (its release was later pushed back to June 28). FilmDistrict distributed the film.[20] The movie was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on August 13, 2013, in the U.S.[21]

Critical response[edit]

The film received mixed reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 48% based on reviews from 181 mainstream critics, with a weighted average of 5.4/10 and the site's consensus being "It's far from original, but Olympus Has Fallen benefits from Antoine Fuqua's tense direction and a strong performance from Gerard Butler—which might be just enough for action junkies".[22] Metacritic assigns the film a weighted average rating of 41 out of 100 based on the reviews of thirty-one professional critics indicating "mixed or average reviews."[23] Critics widely compared Olympus Has Fallen with the Die Hard series for sharing the same style and momentum, with Richard Roeper calling it as "just too much of a pale 'Die Hard' ripoff." He gave the film a C.[24]

David Edelstein was much more negative of the film. While praising Butler's role as a "solid" character, Edelstein criticized the script and the violence of the film, writing "Olympus Has Fallen is a disgusting piece of work, but it certainly hits its marks – it makes you sick with suspense."[25]

Box office[edit]

At the end of the first weekend, the film earned $30.5 million, and exceeded Hollywood experts' predictions by $7 million.[26][27] The film received an A− CinemaScore grade.[28] As of October 30, 2013, it has made a total of over $161 million at the box-office worldwide, making it FilmDistrict's highest grossing film to date.[4]


Main article: London Has Fallen

Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart, Angela Bassett and Radha Mitchell will return for a sequel titled London Has Fallen revolving around a plot to strike London during the funeral of the British Prime Minister.[29] Production was scheduled to begin in May 2014 in London, with Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt returning to pen the script. Director Antoine Fuqua, however, was not returning due to his commitments with The Equalizer.[30] On May 1, 2014, it was announced Focus Features had acquired distribution rights to the sequel and will release it on October 2, 2015.[31] On August 18, 2014, it was announced that Charlie Countryman director Fredrik Bond would be taking over direction from Fuqua,[32] but Bond left the film on September 18, just six weeks before the shooting was set to begin.[33] However, on September 28, 2014, it was announced that Babak Najafi will take over direction of the sequel.[34] On October 10, 2014, it was announced that Jackie Earle Haley would be joining London Has Fallen as a Deputy Chief named Mason.[35]

Filming for the sequel began on October 24, 2014.[36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "La Chute de la Maison Blanche – released". allocine.fr. Retrieved July 7, 2013. 
  2. ^ Digital Cinema Package (DCP) – FilmDistrict USA Release
  3. ^ "OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN (15)". British Board of Film Classification. March 21, 2013. Retrieved March 21, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c "Olympus Has Fallen (2013)". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com. Retrieved 2013-05-25. 
  5. ^ a b Sneider, Jeff (March 16, 2012). "Gerard Butler climbs 'Olympus Has Fallen'". Variety. 
  6. ^ Sneider, Jeff (June 22, 2012). "Aaron Eckhart joins 'Olympus Has Fallen'". Variety. 
  7. ^ a b Fleming, Mike (December 14, 2012). "FilmDistrict Moves 'Olympus Has Fallen' To March 22, 2013". Deadline.com. 
  8. ^ Sneider, Jeff; McNary, Dave (June 25, 2012). "Angela Bassett joins 'Olympus'". Variety. 
  9. ^ a b Kit, Borys (July 10, 2012). "Melissa Leo and Rick Yune Joining 'Olympus Has Fallen'". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  10. ^ Kroll, Justin (June 29, 2012). "Dylan McDermott climbs 'Olympus'". Variety. 
  11. ^ Patten, Dominic (July 7, 2012). "'Olympus Has Fallen' Adds Radha Mitchell". Deadline.com. 
  12. ^ a b c Kit, Borys (July 12, 2012). "Ashley Judd, Robert Forster Join 'Olympus Has Fallen'". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  13. ^ Kit, Borys (July 9, 2012). "Cole Hauser Joins Action Movie 'Olympus Has Fallen'". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  14. ^ "Lance Broadway Goes from Major League Baseball to OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN". 
  15. ^ Kit, Borys (July 25, 2012). "Tory Kittles Joins 'Olympus Has Fallen'". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  16. ^ "Interview with Malana Lea". 
  17. ^ Kit, Borys (April 10, 2012). "Antoine Fuqua Circling 'Olympus' as White House Thriller Race Heats Up". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  18. ^ a b c d Ian Failes, "How VFX saved Washington: Olympus Has Fallen", Fxguide, 25 March 2013.
  19. ^ "Trevor Morris to Score ‘Olympus Has Fallen’". Film Music Reporter. January 14, 2013. 
  20. ^ "FilmDistrict to Distribute Olympus Has Fallen". ComingSoon.net. October 26, 2012. Retrieved October 26, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Blu-ray, DVD Release: Olympus Has Fallen". July 9, 2013. Retrieved July 20, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Olympus Has Fallen". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved October 13, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Olympus Has Fallen". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 13, 2013. 
  24. ^ Roeper, Richard. "Olympus Has Fallen Review - RichardRoeper.com". RichardRoeper.com. Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  25. ^ Edelstein, David (March 22, 2013). "Edelstein on Olympus Has Fallen: Hollywood Has Made Us a Vengeful Nation". Vulture.com. Retrieved June 4, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Weekend Box Office Report: ‘The Croods’ and ‘Olympus’ Lead New Releases, Movies With Butter.com". Retrieved March 26, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Box office has risen: Patriotic ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ beats Hollywood’s expectations". The Washington Post. March 25, 2013. Retrieved March 26, 2013. 
  28. ^ "Box Office Report: 'Croods' Opens to Solid $44.7 Million; 'Olympus Has Fallen' Nabs $30.5 Million". The Hollywood Reporter. March 24, 2013. Retrieved March 26, 2013. 
  29. ^ Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, and Aaron Eckhart Returning for OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN Sequel LONDON HAS FALLEN
  30. ^ London Has Fallen Heads to AFM
  31. ^ "Focus Features Dates 'Olympus' Sequel 'London Has Fallen' For October 2015". Deadline.com. 2013-03-22. Retrieved 2014-05-01. 
  32. ^ "Fredrik Bond to Direct ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ Sequel". Variety. August 18, 2014. Retrieved August 19, 2014. 
  33. ^ Kit, Borys (September 18, 2014). "'Olympus Has Fallen' Sequel Loses Its Director". hollywoodreporter.com. Retrieved September 19, 2014. 
  34. ^ "Babak Najafi to Helm London Has Fallen". Comingsoon.net. September 28, 2014. Retrieved September 28, 2014. 
  35. ^ Sneider, Jeff (October 10, 2014). "‘Olympus Has Fallen’ Sequel Lands Jackie Earle Haley As First New Cast Member (Exclusive)". The Wrap. Retrieved October 11, 2014. 
  36. ^ http://instagram.com/p/uiF4n4kqUP/

External links[edit]