Poseidon (film)

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Poseidon (2006) film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Wolfgang Petersen
Produced by
Screenplay by Mark Protosevich
Based on The Poseidon Adventure 
by Paul Gallico
Music by Klaus Badelt
Cinematography John Seale
Editing by Peter Honess
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • May 6, 2006 (2006-05-06) (Tribeca)
  • May 12, 2006 (2006-05-12) (United States)
Running time 98 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $160 million
Box office $181,674,817[1]

Poseidon /pəˈsdən/ is a 2006 disaster film produced and directed by Wolfgang Petersen. It is the third film adaptation of Paul Gallico's novel The Poseidon Adventure, and a loose remake of the 1972 film of the same name. It stars Josh Lucas, Kurt Russell and Richard Dreyfuss. It was produced and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures in association with Virtual Studios. The film had a simultaneous release in the IMAX format. It was released on May 12, 2006, and nominated at the 79th Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects.[2] Poseidon grossed $181,674,817 at the worldwide box office on a budget of $160 million. When released on DVD, it amassed $19,727,310 in sales, bringing its total gross to $201,402,127.[3]


The RMS Poseidon, a luxury cruise ship, is on a year-end transatlantic crossing to New York. Jennifer (Emmy Rossum) is with her fiancé, Christian (Mike Vogel), and they consider how to tell Jennifer's father, former New York City Mayor Robert Ramsey (Kurt Russell), about their engagement. In the galley, stowaway Elena (Mía Maestro) searches for her friend, a waiter named Valentin (Freddy Rodriguez). Architect Richard Nelson (Richard Dreyfuss) is making a phone call to his estranged lover. In the grand ballroom, Captain Michael Bradford (Andre Braugher) delivers a New Year's Eve speech before introducing the singer, Gloria (Fergie). Dylan (Josh Lucas), a professional gambler and retired Naval sailor, and Robert play Texas Hold’em with Lucky Larry (Kevin Dillon). Jennifer, Christian and Elena are partying in the nightclub. Richard is with his friends, talking about his heartbreak. As Dylan walks with his winnings, he bumps into Connor (Jimmy Bennett). Maggie (Jacinda Barrett), Connor's mother, arrives and chats with the gambler.

On the bridge, officers see a 150-foot rogue wave coming towards them, while everyone celebrates the New Year countdown. On the promenade deck, Richard, who is contemplating suicide, sees the wave and retreats inside. Though the crew on the bridge sounds warning alarms and turns hard to starboard to meet the wave head-on, Poseidon turns too slowly. She is hit broad-side and capsizes. Passengers are swept overboard, fall to their deaths in overturned high-ceilinged areas or are crushed to death by falling debris. In the galley, crew are incinerated by flash fires caused by rupturing gas lines.

In the ballroom, Robert, Dylan, Richard and Maggie wake up, realizing that the ship is now upside down. Robert sees Connor on the piano, which is now on the ceiling. Robert and some officers rescue Connor. In the nightclub, Jennifer looks for Christian, who has been pinned by a fallen light. They and Elena are the only ones to avoid being killed by the combined dangers of the sprinklers activating and numerous broken wires and lights electrifying the water.

Captain Bradford reassures the passengers by telling them that a set of GPS beacons were launched during the collision and that help is on its way, therefore they should stay put. Some passengers hesitate. Dylan disagrees and concludes that the bow thrusters of the ship are the key to survival. He is joined by Robert, Richard, Connor, Maggie and Valentin. The group makes their way through the kitchens to a service elevator. Using a table to bridge the space across the shaft, the group pries open an opposing set of elevator doors. Everyone survives until the table drops as Richard is being pulled up by Dylan. The service elevator, severely damaged by the collision, begins to plummet towards them, and Richard is forced to shake the crewman off. Valentin falls down the elevator shaft and is killed immediately by the fall, and the elevator crashes down moments after Richard is pulled through the doors. The group manages to force the elevator doors shut just before a gas explosion set off by the falling elevator reaches them.

Meanwhile, in the nightclub, Elena and Jennifer rescue Christian, with help from Lucky Larry. Robert and Jennifer reunite with the other survivors. The group reaches the lobby and uses a damaged elevator as a bridge. As Lucky Larry takes his turn to cross, an engine smashes its way through the lobby floor above and kills him. Large amounts of leaking fuel follow through the opening in the floor and is ignited. Dylan finds a fire hose and jumps into the flaming water, making a zip line that the others use to cross.

In the ballroom, the windows at last give way, the room floods and the surviving passengers, Captain Bradford, Gloria and the crew trapped inside are drowned. As the surviving group tries to escape from the rising water, they hear all the people from the main hall screaming for help. They go into an air vent which leads to the ballast tanks. Elena struggles to continue moving through the air vent due to her claustrophobia. Robert tries to smash the cover of the vent, but fails, and calls Connor to assist him in the hopes that Connor's smaller fingers will be able to undo the vent screws. Elena successfully gets inside the vent and offers her necklace to be used as a screwdriver. The cover opens and the group climbs into the ship's ballast tank, where they locate a hatch. Robert and Dylan realize that only great pressure can open the hatch, and they flood the chamber. The hatch opens, and they swim through to the next chamber. Elena's dress becomes caught as she swims through, and she hits her head on a sharp beam, critically wounding her and knocking her out. Richard turns back to rescue her, followed by Robert, Dylan and Christian, and takes the unconscious Elena back where Robert tries to revive her, but she dies from her injury without regaining consciousness.

The group finds themselves in the galley and see the bow section is flooded, telling them the obvious: the Poseidon is sinking by the bow, and fast. While finding a new exit, an explosion in the engine room causes the bow to rise out of the water, and forces the stern down. All of the water in the bow rushes towards the stern, and the stern of the Poseidon sinks underwater. Robert, Christian, Jennifer and Richard go first, leaving Dylan, Maggie and Connor behind. Maggie and Dylan find Connor trapped. He is eventually saved by Dylan and the three reunite with the group. In the engine room, Richard opens a cover and the bow thrusters, still trying to turn the ship to starboard, begin blasting air into the room. Knowing that the control room for the propellers is now below water, Christian and Robert debate who should go, knowing whoever goes may not come back. Christian decides he will, only to find Robert has already gone. Underwater, Robert finds the off switch broken, but manages to hit the reverse button instead as a last resort just before he drowns. The propellers briefly stop, then begin turning the other way, and Dylan finds a nitrogen tank and throws it into the propellers. The ensuing explosion destroys the motors for one of the three bow thrusters. After climbing through the propeller tube, they jump overboard and into an inflatable raft. At that moment, Poseidon loses buoyancy and begins her final plunge. The survivors row for their lives and narrowly avoid being crushed beneath the hull as the ship rights herself.

Her bow pointing high into the night sky, Poseidon sinks by the stern in the foaming waters as the handful of survivors looks on. Finding a flare gun in the raft, Dylan fires it, and they wait for rescue. Some time later, a group of helicopters finds the raft and moves in to pick up the survivors. Just before the credits roll in the widescreen version, at least three ships are shown in the distance, racing towards the spot where Poseidon sank, apparently alerted by the GPS beacons.



As with the film The Poseidon Adventure, which based many of its sets on rooms aboard the RMS Queen Mary, the film's set designers drew inspiration for some of the spaces aboard the fictional Poseidon from rooms aboard Queen Mary 2, most notably in Poseidon's ballroom, which is modeled on the main dining room of Queen Mary 2.

On the sound stage at Warner Bros. studios in Burbank, California, separate sets for each main room were built — one right-side-up and the other upside down. The upside down ballroom set was built on top of a large water tank in the sound stage so that it could be filled with water and drained in a matter of hours. The interior and exterior shots of the ship rolling were constructed using computer-generated imagery.

The primary visual effects were completed by Industrial Light & Magic and Moving Picture Company. ILM used the most advanced version of mental ray to photo-realistically light and render the shots, and were responsible for all of the ship's exterior shots. The most complicated work featured the opening shot of the ship, where the camera tours the ship's exterior. The shot lasts for two and a half minutes, and features one of the most complex digital models ever created at ILM. For water simulations, proprietary software was used, known as PhysBAM, which was created in collaboration with Stanford University. Harold "Howie" Weed was computer graphics modeler for the film.

Digital interior sets and water effects were handled by MPC, while liquid and gaseous effects were simulated using Scanline VFX proprietary software Flowline, while other shots were handled by CIS Hollywood, with water effects simulated using RealFlow.[4][5]


The soundtrack was released on May 9, 2006, and includes music composed by Klaus Badelt, as well as songs performed by Fergie, who played Gloria in the film, and Federico Aubele.

No. Title Performed by Length
1. "Won't Let You Fall"   Fergie 4:39
2. "Bailamos"   Fergie 3:10
3. "Postales"   Federico Aubele 4:09
4. "The Poseidon"   Klaus Badelt 3:19
5. "The Wave"   Badelt 4:37
6. "A Map and a Plan"   Badelt 2:30
7. "Fire Dive"   Badelt 2:48
8. "Claustrophobia"   Badelt 7:09
9. "Drowning"   Badelt 3:05
10. "Don't Look Down"   Badelt 3:44
11. "Escape"   Badelt 2:42

Be Without You (Moto Blanco Vocal Mix) (8:44) by Mary J. Blige is played in the film but was not included on the soundtrack.


The film had a budget of $160 million and received generally negative to mixed reviews from critics, with a "Rotten" rating of 33% on Rotten Tomatoes, and an average score of 4.9/10 and 50 out of 100 on Metacritic, which indicates "mixed or average reviews". The film was also nominated for the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Remake or Ripoff. However, the film eventually gained a cult following and was commended for its realistic use of CGI in the capsizing scenes[6] and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. However, it lost the award to Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.

The film grossed a disappointing $22,155,410 on its opening weekend for an average of $6,232 from 3,555 theaters, failing to knock Mission: Impossible III from the top of the box office.[7] Warner Bros. President and Chief Operating Officer Alan F. Horn called the results, "very, very disappointing". Poseidon went on to generate $60,674,817 in the United States, and $121,000,000 in foreign markets, for a combined total gross of $181,674,817.[1]

The film holds a Guinness World Record for having the most detailed CG model in a film. The exterior shots included 181,579 individual objects, including 382 cabins, 876 portholes, 73 towels, and 681 deck chairs, all of which were created by digital effects company Industrial Light & Magic.[citation needed]

DVD release[edit]

Poseidon was released to DVD on August 22, 2006, in both single-disc and double-disc editions. The single-disc edition contains a behind-the-scenes featurette and the theatrical trailer. The double-disc edition expands on these two features, and also includes the documentaries Poseidon: Upside Down: A Unique Set Design Chronicle; A Shipmate's Diary, which covers a film school intern's experience on the set; and a History Channel documentary which explores rogue waves.[8] DVD sales for Poseidon were 1,183,187 units, which translates to $19,665,430 in sales.[9] Poseidon has made $19,727,310 in DVD sales, bringing its total gross to $201,402,127.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Poseidon". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 16, 2007. 
  2. ^ "IMDb 2006 Oscar page". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved January 23, 2007. 
  3. ^ "Poseidon". The Numbers. Retrieved August 22, 2009. 
  4. ^ Poseidon: Making a Big CG Splash
  5. ^ fxguide, LLC (2006-05-08). "maya:after effects:avid - Wipe out: 'Poseidon' Fluid Simulations". fxguide. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 
  6. ^ McClintock, Pamela (May 21, 2006). "Pic rocks the Warners boat". Variety. Retrieved August 22, 2009. 
  7. ^ "Poseidon sinks at US box office". Guardian Unlimited. May 15, 2006. Retrieved September 16, 2007. 
  8. ^ "Poseidon". DVD Active. Retrieved September 16, 2007. 
  9. ^ "Poseidon DVD". The Numbers. Retrieved September 10, 2008. 
  10. ^ "Poseidon — DVD Sales". The Numbers. Retrieved August 22, 2009. 

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