10,000 BC (film)

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10,000 BC
Ten thousand b c.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRoland Emmerich
Written byRoland Emmerich
Harald Kloser
Produced byMichael Wimer
Roland Emmerich
Mark Gordon
CinematographyUeli Steiger
Edited byAlexander Berner
Music byHarald Kloser
Thomas Wander
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • March 7, 2008 (2008-03-07)
Running time
109 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$105 million
Box office$269.8 million

10,000 BC is a 2008 American action-adventure film directed by Roland Emmerich, starring Steven Strait and Camilla Belle. The film is set in the prehistoric era and depicts the journeys of a prehistoric tribe of mammoth hunters. The world premiere was held on February 10, 2008 at Sony Center on Potsdamer Platz in Berlin.[1][2]

The film was a box office hit, but consistently regarded by professional critics as Emmerich's worst film, as well as one of the worst films of the year.[3]


Circa 10,000 BC, a hunter-gatherer tribe called the Yagahl live in the Ural Mountains and survive by hunting woolly mammoths. The tribe is led by a hunter who has killed a mammoth single-handedly and earned the White Spear, and venerate Old Mother, an elderly woman with shamanistic powers. The mammoths begin to dwindle, and the village chief finds a young girl named Evolet who survived a massacre of her village, perpetrated by what Old Mother calls "four-legged demons" who will come when "the Yagahl go on their last hunt". She prophesies that whoever kills the leader of the "demons" will win both Evolet and the White Spear, becoming the next village chief. The tribe believe that the "demons" are mammoths, whose return will save them from starvation. The chief, however, does not believe the prophecy and leaves to find another way to save his people. He entrusts the White Spear, his son D'Leh, and the true purpose of his quest to his friend Tic'Tic. The rest of the tribe, including D'Leh's rival Ka'Ren, believe that D'Leh's father was a coward and fled. Over time, D'Leh and Evolet fall in love.

When the mammoths finally return, D'Leh hunts them with the men of the tribe under Tic'Tic's leadership, and manages to kill one by accident, inadvertently winning both the White Spear and marriage to Evolet. The village believes Old Mother's prophecy is coming true, but D'Leh is consumed by guilt for not earning the White Spear fairly. After speaking with Tic'Tic, he gives up the White Spear, forfeiting his marriage to Evolet. The next day, horse-raiders attack the camp, enslaving Evolet and several others and killing many of the tribe. D'Leh, Tic'Tic, Ka'Ren and young boy Baku set out to rescue their fellow Yagahl, but Evolet is recaptured with Ka'Ren and Baku during an attack on the slavers by terror birds, and Tic'Tic is wounded. While hunting, D'Leh falls into a pit, where he rescues a Smilodon before escaping himself. After Tic'Tic recovers, they make their way to a village and learn of a prophecy from the Naku, another tribe; whoever talks to a Smilodon they call the "Spear-Tooth" will help free their people. D'Leh realizes the prophecy is about him when the Smilodon he rescued arrives and refuses to kill him. They also learn that D'Leh's father was a guest of the Naku until he was captured by the slavers and Tic'Tic finally reveals to D'Leh why his father left.

Several tribes form a coalition to pursue the raiders with D'Leh as their leader. They find the ships holding Evolet and their families but with no means to follow, they journey through a desert and discover an advanced civilization, ruled by an enigmatic god-king known as the "Almighty", the last of a group of people who had survived the collapse of an advanced civilization from across the sea. Here it is discovered that the kidnapped Yagahl work as slaves. The warlord who kidnapped Evolet tries to coerce her into loving him, only to be arrested by the Almighty's priests when they find he has taken her without permission. During a night scouting raid, D'Leh learns of the Almighty and the fate of his father, who perished as a slave. The party is spotted by the guards, who are killed by Tic'Tic before he succumbs to his wounds. The Almighty's priests believe that Evolet is destined to kill The Almighty, based on the whip scars on her hands matching the stars they call the "Mark of the Hunter" and an ancient prophecy foreseeing their civilization's downfall. The Almighty realizes that Evolet is merely the herald of the true hunter. D'Leh starts a rebellion among the slaves, killing many of the Almighty's forces, though Ka'Ren is killed.

The Almighty offers Evolet and the other hunters to D'Leh in exchange for abandoning his rebellion. D'Leh feigns acceptance but kills the Almighty with a spear. During the ensuing battle, Evolet is killed by the warlord who is then killed by D'Leh, but is restored to life when Old Mother sacrifices herself. With the Almighty dead and his civilization destroyed, the Yagahl bid farewell to the other tribes and return home with seeds given to them by the Naku to start a new life.


  • Steven Strait as D'Leh, a mammoth hunter.
  • Camilla Belle as Evolet, D'Leh's wife and the only survivor of a tribe which was killed off by the "four-legged demons" (fierce warriors on horseback); she was spared because of her blue eyes, which marked her as unique.
  • Cliff Curtis as Tic'Tic, D'Leh's mentor and friend.[4]
  • Joel Virgel as Nakudu, leader of the Naku tribe.
  • Affif Ben Badra as Warlord, the leader of the "Four Legged Demons".
  • Mo Zinal as Ka'Ren.
  • Nathanael Baring as Baku.
  • Marco Khan as One-Eye, Warlord's main henchman.
  • Mona Hammond as Old Mother, the Yagahl wise old woman.
  • Joel Fry as Lu'Kibu
  • Reece Ritchie as Moha.
  • Piers Stubbs as Young Moha.
  • Junior Oliphant as Tudu, Nakudu's son.
  • Kristian Beazley as D'Leh's father, who had lived with the Naku tribe and learned agriculture from them.
  • Boubacar Badaine as Quina, leader of another tribe.
  • Farouk Valley-Omar as the High Priest.
  • Tim Barlow as The Almighty, a tall, blue-eyed man who dresses in long white robes and a face-concealing veil. He is the last of three kings and the last of the Atlanteans.
  • Omar Sharif as Narrator.



Emmerich opened casting sessions in late October 2005.[5] In February 2006, Camilla Belle and Steven Strait were announced to star in the film, with Strait as the mammoth hunter and Belle as his love.[6] Emmerich decided that casting well known actors would distract from the realistic feel of the prehistoric setting. "If like, Jake Gyllenhaal turned up in a movie like this, everybody would be, 'What's that?'", he explained. The casting of unknown actors also helped keep the film's budget down.[7]


At the 2008 Wondercon, Emmerich mentioned the fiction of Robert E. Howard as a primary influence for the film's setting, as well as his love for the film Quest for Fire and the book Fingerprints of the Gods.[8] He invited composer Harald Kloser to help write the screenplay after he liked his story suggestions to The Day After Tomorrow.[9] When the project received the greenlight from Columbia Pictures, screenwriter John Orloff began work on a new draft of the original script. Columbia Pictures, under Sony Pictures Entertainment, dropped the project due to a busy release calendar, and Warner Bros. picked up the project in Sony's absence.[10] The script went through a second revision with Matthew Sand and a final revision with Robert Rodat.[6]

Production began in early 2006 in South Africa and Namibia.[6] Location filming also took place in southern New Zealand[11] and Thailand. Emmerich wanted to shoot the entire film in Africa but was barred from shooting a certain helicopter scene which led to them going to New Zealand for those shots.[12] Before shooting began, the production had spent eighteen months on research and development for the computer-generated imagery. Two companies recreated prehistoric animals. To cut time (it was taking sixteen hours to render a single frame) 50% of the CGI models' fur was removed, as "it turned out half the fur looked the same" to the director.[7] Filming took place for a total of 102 days, 20 days longer than planned.[12]


Emmerich rejected making the film in an ancient language (similar to The Passion of the Christ or Apocalypto), deciding that it would not be as emotionally engaging.[13]

Dialect coach Brendan Gunn was hired by Emmerich and Kloser to create "a half dozen" languages for the film.[14] Gunn has stated that he collaborated informally with film lead Steven Strait to improvise what the languages would sound like. He also used some local African languages and their dialects, including the Oshiwambo language native to Namibia, which can be heard faintly by the wise blind man.[15]

Alternate ending[edit]

In an alternative ending, the scene shifts forward many years into the future, showing Baku's retelling of the story by the camp fire. It ends with a child asking what had happened to the "Mountains of the Gods", and Baku responds, "They were taken back by the sands. Lost to time, lost to man".

Visual and sound effects[edit]

The mammoths in the movie were based on elephants and fossils of mammoths, while the saber-toothed cat was based on tigers and ligers (a lion/tiger hybrid).[16]

The sounds made by the saber-toothed cat in the movie are based on the vocalization of tigers and lions.[17]


Camilla Belle Routh portrayed Evolet in 10,000 BC

Critics noted that the film is archaeologically inaccurate and contains many factual errors and anachronisms.[18] On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 9% based on 150 reviews, with an average rating of 3.40/10. The website's critics' consensus states: "With attention strictly paid to style instead of substance, or historical accuracy, 10,000 BC is a visually impressive but narratively flimsy epic."[19] Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 34 out of 100, based on 29 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[20] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C" on an A+ to F scale.[21]

Todd McCarthy of Variety wrote: "Conventional where it should be bold and mild where it should be wild, 10,000 BC reps a missed opportunity to present an imaginative vision of a prehistoric moment."[22] Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian wrote: "Roland Emmerich's great big CGI blockbuster lumbers along like one of the woolly mammoths that roam across the screen."[23]

Composer Thomas Wander won a BMI Film Music Award for his work on the film.[24]

Box office[edit]

The film was a moderate success at the box office. In its opening weekend, the film grossed $35.8 million in 3,410 theaters in the United States and Canada, ranking No. 1 at the box office, and grossing over $22 million more than the film in second place, College Road Trip.[25][26] As of 29 April 2008, it has grossed approximately $268.6 million worldwide—$94.6 million in the United States and Canada and $174 million in other territories[27]—including $17.2 million in Mexico, $13.1 million in Spain, $11.3 million in the United Kingdom, and $10.8 million in China. This also makes it the first film of 2008 to surpass the $200 million mark.[28]

Home media[edit]

The DVD of the film was released on June 17, 2008 in single-disc editions of DVD and Blu-ray Disc in the United States. Best Buy released a 2-disc limited edition along with the DVD and Blu-ray Disc releases. It was released on July 1, 2008 in the United Kingdom.[29] The film grossed $31,341,721 in DVD sales, bringing its total film gross to $300,414,491.[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Welt Online (February 26, 2008). "Emmerich feiert Start seines Steinzeit-Films (German)" (in German). Die Welt. Retrieved March 11, 2008.
  2. ^ Hilary Whiteman (March 3, 2008). "10,000 BC: The premiere (English)". CNN. Retrieved March 11, 2008.
  3. ^ "Tomato Picker 2008 films with <10% "fresh" ratings". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on February 1, 2013. Retrieved March 16, 2009.
  4. ^ Shawn Adler (June 29, 2007). "Emmerich Heads Back In Time For '10000 B.C.'". MTV. Archived from the original on July 2, 2007. Retrieved July 11, 2007.
  5. ^ Michael Fleming (October 5, 2005). "Sci-fi guy follows primal instinct". Variety. Archived from the original on October 13, 2007. Retrieved August 20, 2006.
  6. ^ a b c Borys Kit (February 27, 2006). "Strait, Belle fight for mankind". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on March 13, 2006. Retrieved August 20, 2006.
  7. ^ a b Adam Smith (January 2008). "News Etc". Empire. p. 16.
  8. ^ "WonderCon 2008: Day 2 - Part 1! - ComingSoon.net". ComingSoon.net. February 24, 2008. Retrieved February 27, 2015.
  9. ^ Writer-Producer Harald Kloser of New-to-DVD "2012"
  10. ^ Pamela McClintock (January 30, 2006). "Warners goes on time trek". Variety. Archived from the original on November 26, 2010. Retrieved August 20, 2006.
  11. ^ "Principal Photography Commences on the Epic Adventure 10,000 B.C, Directed by Roland Emmerich for Warner Bros. Pictures". Business Wire. May 9, 2006. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
  12. ^ a b "Roland Emmerich, Master of Disaster, Returns to Big-Screen Cataclysms With 'Moonfall'". The Hollywood Reporter. January 27, 2022. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  13. ^ "Exclusive CS Featurette: 10,000 BC". ComingSoon.net. March 5, 2008. Retrieved March 5, 2008.
  14. ^ "Steven – Online II Press Archive". steven-online.org. Archived from the original on January 21, 2010. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
  15. ^ Gunn, Brendan (January 13, 2008). "How I told Brad Pitt to mind his language – Telegraph". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
  16. ^ "Introduction to Inside "10,000 BC" - HowStuffWorks". HowStuffWorks. March 6, 2008. Retrieved February 27, 2015.
  17. ^ "10,000 B.C. – Exclusive Interview with Supervising Sound Editors Simon Gershon and Jeremy Price". Retrieved February 27, 2015.
  18. ^ White, Caroline (August 4, 2009). "The 10 most historically inaccurate movies". The Times. London. Archived from the original on June 15, 2011. Retrieved August 5, 2009.
  19. ^ "10,000 B.C." Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 21, 2022.
  20. ^ "10,000 B.C. (2008)". Metacritic. Retrieved March 7, 2008.
  21. ^ https://www.cinemascore.com/publicsearch/index/title/
  22. ^ "10,000 Bc". March 6, 2008.
  23. ^ "10,000 Bc". March 14, 2008.
  24. ^ "2008 BMI Film/TV Awards". BMI.com. May 22, 2008. Retrieved September 17, 2021.
  25. ^ "10,000 B.C. (2008) – Weekend Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 16, 2008.
  26. ^ "'10,000 B.C.' roars to top of box office". CNN. Archived from the original on June 5, 2008. Retrieved March 9, 2008.
  27. ^ "10,000 B.C. (2008)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 6, 2008.
  28. ^ "10,000 B.C. (2008) – International Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 30, 2008.
  29. ^ "Rakuten - A new way to earn Super Points". Play.com. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  30. ^ "10,000 B.C." Retrieved February 27, 2015.

External links[edit]