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Final Destination 3

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Final Destination 3
Numerous men and women on a roller coaster looking at the camera and screaming.
Theatrical release poster
Directed by James Wong
Produced by Craig Perry
Warren Zide
Glen Morgan
James Wong
Written by Glen Morgan
James Wong
Based on Characters created
by Jeffrey Reddick
Starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Ryan Merriman
Music by Shirley Walker
Cinematography Robert McLachlan
Edited by Chris G. Willingham
Hard Eight Pictures
Practical Pictures
Matinee Pictures
Zide/Perry Productions
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release date
  • February 10, 2006 (2006-02-10)
Running time
93 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $25 million
Box office $117,719,158[1]

Final Destination 3 is a 2006 American supernatural horror film directed by James Wong and the third installment in the Final Destination film series. The screenplay was written by Wong and Glen Morgan, both of whom had worked on Final Destination. It stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Ryan Merriman, and is set six years after the first film. Winstead plays Wendy Christensen, a teenager who has a premonition that a roller coaster on which she and her classmates are riding derails. Although she saves some of them, Death begins hunting for the survivors. Wendy realizes that photos she took in the amusement park contain clues about how her classmates will die, and she tries to use them to save the rest of the survivors.

Its development began shortly after the release of Final Destination 2. Like the previous two installments, Final Destination 3 was filmed in Vancouver. It was released on February 10, 2006, and the DVD version was released on July 25. The DVD includes commentaries, documentaries, a deleted scene and an original animated video. A special DVD Thrill Ride Edition was also released with "Choose Their Fate", an interactive movie in which viewer decisions at specific points in the film alter the course of the story.[2]

Final Destination 3 received mixed reviews. Critics called the film "laughable" and "a ridiculous teen horror movie" in which "the drama is reduced [as it's] clear to everyone who must die and in what order".[3] It was praised as "fashioned with a fair amount of craft", "manag[ing] to push all the requisite buttons and then some" and "deliver[ing] a certain degree of over-the-top amusement".[4] The film was a financial success, the highest-grossing film in the franchise when it was released. Its underlying theme of losing control was noted by reviewers.[5]


High-school student Wendy Christensen visits an amusement park with boyfriend Jason Wise, her best friend Carrie Dreyer and Carrie's boyfriend Kevin Fischer for their senior-class field trip. As they board the Devil's Flight roller coaster, Wendy has a premonition that the hydraulics securing the seat belts and coaster cars will fail during the ride and kill everyone on board. She panics, a fight breaks out and several people leave (or are forced off) the ride, including Kevin; best friends Ashley Freund and Ashlyn Halperin; alumnus Frankie Cheeks; athlete Lewis Romero, and goth couple Ian McKinley and Erin Ulmer. They see the roller coaster derail, killing the remaining passengers (including Jason and Carrie), and Wendy is devastated.

Several weeks later, Kevin tells Wendy about the explosion of Flight 180 and the subsequent deaths of the survivors. Thinking that Kevin is making fun of her, Wendy dismisses his theory and leaves. Ashley and Ashlyn are later killed in a tanning salon when a loose shelf falls, locking them in their tanning beds. Now convinced that Death is after them, Wendy and Kevin set out to save the remaining survivors using omens hidden in photos taken by Wendy on the night of the accident.

Frankie dies next at a drive-through, when a runaway truck crashes into the back of Kevin's truck and the engine fan blows out. The next day, Wendy and Kevin try to save Lewis at the gym; he tells them that he does not believe them shortly before two weights from the weight training machine he is using swing down and crush him. Ian and Erin are working at a hardware store; Wendy saves Ian from being impaled by falling planks of wood, but Erin falls onto a nail gun and is shot repeatedly in the head. Ian, grief-stricken, resents Wendy.

Wendy learns that her sister Julie and her friend were also on the roller coaster, and rushes to the county fair to save them. She and Kevin prevent Julie from being impaled on a harrow while being dragged by a panicky horse, and Wendy asks Julie who was sitting next to her on the roller coaster (since they are next on Death's list). Her question is quickly answered when Julie's friend, Perry Malinowski, is impaled by a flagpole launched by a rope tied to the horse. Wendy saves Kevin from an exploding propane canister and is confronted by a deranged Ian, who blames her for Erin's death. Fireworks go off and nearly hit Wendy, but she ducks and they strike a nearby cherry picker instead. Ian shouts that Death cannot kill him, and the cherry picker collapses and crushes him. Wendy thinks that the cherry picker was meant for her, but Ian inadvertently took her place.

Five months later, Wendy is on a subway train with her roommate Laura and her friend Sean. When she sees more omens she begins to get off, but sees Julie entering the car and decides to stay. Wendy notices Kevin sitting in the back of the car. The train derails, and everyone aboard dies; Julie is hit by a stray wheel, Kevin is crushed between the train and the tunnel wall, and Wendy survives the crash but is hit by another train. This turns out to be another premonition, and they attempt to stop the train. The screen goes black, followed by the sound of screeching metal.


For more details on this topic, see List of Final Destination characters.

Like the previous two films, characters are named after horror-film directors, actors and producers. Wendy and Julie are named after director Benjamin Christensen, Lewis is named after George A. Romero and Ashley's name refers to Karl Freund.[6]



[W]e really felt that the idea of Final Destination, or the fact that Death can visit you and you can cheat death, that that could happen to anyone. And so we wanted to divorce from the first film character wise. We didn't want to follow that same thread. Part of the difficulty in that is when a character understands what happened to them before; it's a whole different way in which they react to what's happening now. We felt the franchise could exist with a new group of people, instead of following those older characters all the way through. We wanted to see if this could work.[7]
— James Wong, on developing the plot

According to DVD interviews with the filmmakers, Final Destination 3 was originally the last part of a trilogy and was in development since the release of Final Destination 2. The idea of death omens in photographs was taken from 1976's The Omen, in which characters are impaled and decapitated. The film's original title, Cheating Death: Final Destination 3, was changed during development.[8] It was intended to be filmed in 3D, but plans were abandoned.[9]

According to Wong, the idea of using a roller-coaster derailment as the opening-scene disaster came from New Line Cinema executive Richard Bryant; Wong dispelled rumors that it was inspired by a Big Thunder Mountain Railroad incident. Wong said that unlike the second film (which was closely tied to the first), Final Destination 3 was intended as a stand-alone sequel with new characters.[7]


On March 21, 2005, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Ryan Merriman (co-stars of The Ring Two) were cast as Wendy Christensen and Kevin Fischer.[10] Winstead, who had auditioned for the previous two films, won the role because her character's emotion impressed Wong and Glen Morgan. In the DVD features, Wong said that he originally intended Wendy to be a perky blonde and reworked the character slightly after Winstead was cast; according to the director, the actors were right for their roles. About Winstead's casting, Wong said that "[she brought] a kind of soulfulness to her role as Wendy" and Wendy "is deeply affected by the accident, but she’s strong, and fights to maintain control". About Merriman, he said that "the moment [he] came in I thought he was the right guy to play Kevin" and described the character as "the kind of guy you want to hang out with, your goofy best buddy, but also someone who could rise to the occasion and become a hero".[11]

On April 9, 2005, Kris Lemche and Alexz Johnson were cast as the goth couple Ian McKinley and Erin Ulmer. Johnson, who starred in the Canadian television series Instant Star, had auditioned for Wendy's sister Julie; that role later went to Amanda Crew, who originally auditioned for Erin. Johnson said that she wore a rocker jacket for the second reading and was in a bad mood. When she was leaving, the filmmakers called her back to read for Erin and her dialogue in the scene was sarcastic. Johnson thought that her dry sense of humor, which the filmmakers caught, helped her land the role.[11] Lemche said about Ian that he "spouts some interesting facts that seem to be just right there on the tips of his fingers", and the actor researched most of Ian's information. During the read-throughs, he often asked Glen Morgan about Ian's facts; Morgan wrote him notes and gave him URLs to research Ian's random insertions of odd information.”[11][12]

Jesse Moss was cast as Jason Wise, Wendy's boyfriend. Texas Battle, who had a supporting role in the film Coach Carter, played athlete Lewis Romero. Chelan Simmons, who appeared in the television films It and the 2002 remake of Carrie, took the role of Ashley Freund. Sam Easton, who appeared in Miramax's film Underclassman, played school alumnus Frankie Cheeks. Newcomer Gina Holden played Kevin's girlfriend and Wendy's best friend, Carrie Dreyer.[12] Crystal Lowe joined the cast as student Ashlyn Halperin. Tony Todd, who appeared in the first two films, did not return as the mortician Bludworth but voiced the devil statue at the roller coaster and a subway conductor at the end.[13] Maggie Ma and Ecstasia Sanders played Julie's friends, Perry Malinowski and Amber Regan.[14] Dustin Milligan, Cory Monteith and Harris Allan had small roles in the film.[15]

Filming and effects[edit]

As with the first two films, Final Destination 3 was shot in Vancouver.[16] The Corkscrew roller coaster, located in Playland amusement park, was used as the Devil's Flight coaster.[17][18] For the premonition scene where the roller coaster derails, the actors had to ride the coaster 26 times on the same night to shoot the scene.[19] Winstead and Merriman revealed in an interview that the film required three months of shooting; the first two weeks were entirely spent on filming the roller coaster sequence, with the rest of the film being shot out of order. Additionally, the cast members would often rehearse with each other to have better on-screen chemistry.[20]

Photograph of a moving roller coaster.
The Corkscrew roller coaster was used as the Devil's Flight coaster in the film. CGI and various camera angles were employed to make it appear larger.

All the death scenes required varying degrees of 2D and 3D graphic enhancements. The roller coaster sequence alone comprised 144 visual effect shots. The coaster was custom-designed based on the events described in the script. Most of the model was hand-built, with some MEL scripts helping out for specific elements. All the scenes of the roller coaster crash were shot on the green screen with CGI background, capturing the partial model roller coaster in green screen where the actors will perform in the crash sequence. Multiple carts were suspended in bungee ropes to film the effect of the crash. The deaths of the victims in the roller coaster crash required CGI effects on screen. Every actor had a corresponding CG double employed.[21]

While Meteor Studios tackled the roller coaster and subway crashes, Digital Dimension was handled the death scenes. The death of Ian McKinley, in which a cherry picker cuts him clean in half, proved especially challenging. Originally a clean plate of the lift falling was shot, along with a plate of Lemche miming being crushed and falling to the ground, with his bottom covered in a partial green screen suit. After setting those plates, the director felt "he wanted more of a gruesome punch for the shot". A standard CG body that matched Lemche's height was used and several animation simulations of crushing the body with a CG object were performed, with Wong picking the version he liked the most. A new plate was then shot with Lemche acting out the previous animation and getting his body into that end position. The tanning bed death scene was assigned to Soho VFX. It consisted of about 35 shots featuring CG skin, glass, fire and smoke mixed with live fire and smoke elements. In filming the effects of the subway crash in the epilogue of the film, a CG environment reproducing the main volumes of the set was generated.[21]


The soundtrack for Final Destination 3 was composed by Shirley Walker, who composed the scores for the first two films. Score mixer Bobby Fernandez created a "Gore-o-Meter" which was used to indicated how violent each death was; this was used to ensure the score would match the death scenes.[22] Final Destination 3 is also the only film in the series to not have a released musical score.[23]


Final Destination 3 made its world premiere at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on February 1, 2006.[24][25] New Line Cinema set up a promotional website a few months before the film's release. Visitors could be redirected to another site that allowed them to download mobile phone ringtones and wallpapers based on the film.[26] As a further means of promotion, the film's novelization was released a month before the film came out.[27]

Box office[edit]

Final Destination 3 premiered on February 10, 2006, in 2,880 theaters across the United States and Canada, earning $19,173,094 in its opening weekend, with an average of $6,657 per theater.[28] The movie placed number 2 in the United States box office in its opening weekend, behind the remake of The Pink Panther, which also premiered on the same day and got $20,220,412 domestically. The film dropped to number 5 during its second weekend and number 7 during its third weekend. The film dropped out of the top-ten list in its fourth weekend.[29] Its last screening in 135 theaters occurred in its tenth weekend, with the movie grossing $105,940 and ending in 37th place.[30] Final Destination 3 ended up grossing $54,098,051 in the domestic box office and $63,621,107 in all other territories, with an overall gross of $117,719,158 worldwide.[31]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD on July 25, 2006 in both widescreen and fullscreen.[32] The special features includes audio commentary, one deleted scene, three documentaries, the theatrical trailer and an original animated video.[33] The audio commentary is done by Wong, Morgan and director of photography, Robert Mclachlan. The deleted scene is an extended version of Wendy and Kevin's discussion after they've been questioned by the police.[34] The first documentrary, titled Dead Teenager Movie, examines the history of the slasher genre. The second documentary, Kill Shot: Making Final Destination 3, focuses on the making of the film and includes interviews from both the cast and crew. The last documentary, Severed Piece discusses the special effects, pyrotechnics and gore effects that were used in the film. A sevent minute cartoon titled It's All Around You, which explains the various ways people can die, is also included.[35] The DVD also includes an optional Choose Their Fate feature which allows the viewers to make different decision at few points in the film. Most provide only a minor alternate scenes, but the first choice allows the viewer to stop the four characters from getting on the roller coaster before the premonition, ending the film immediately.[36][37] The movie has been released digitally on various streaming platforms which includes Amazon Prime,[38] Google Play[39] and Netflix.[40]


Critical response[edit]

A blonde woman in tanning bed looking at the camera and screaming.
Screenshot of the film depicting the death of Ashley Freund who burned to death alongside her friend Ashlyn Halperin inside their tanning beds. The scene was singled out as one of the best death scenes in both the movie and overall franchise.[41][42][43][44][45]

As with the previous two installments in the franchise, Final Destination 3 received mixed reviews from critics. Review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes reports that 43% of critics gave the film positive write-up based on 122 reviews, with an average rating of 5/10. The site's consensus reads: "Final Destination 3 is more of the same: gory and pointless, with nowhere new to go."[46] On Metacritic, the film achieved an average score of 41 out of 100, based on 28 critics, signifying "mixed or average reviews".[47] CinemaScore reported that audiences gave the film a "B" on an A+ to F scale.[48]

Some of the film's criticism was aimed at the fact that it was formularic and did not bring anything new to the franchise, with Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times writing that the main problem with the film is that "it's clear to everyone who must die and in what order", thus reducing the drama.[49] In a similar statement, BBC film reviewer Stella Papamichael stated that Final Destination 3 proves "that this horror franchise really has nowhere left to go".[50] Variety writer Justin Chang considered the franchise one of the wittiest in the horror genre but was critical of the death scenes' lack of scare factor, saying that while they were sadistic they had "the dramatic import of a kid frying ants under a magnifying glass."[51]

Despite these criticisms, IGN awarded the movie a "good" 7.0 out of 10, writing that "if Rube Goldberg were the Grim Reaper, this would be the result",[52] with Den of Geek also ranking FD3 as the best one in the franchise stating that it's what the franchise always should have been, "a brightly coloured, fast-paced, slightly silly meditation on how we’re all gonna die one day, so we might as well do it explosively."[53] Additionally, Jeff Shannon of The Seattle Times states that while the Final Destination films are "pointless and crass, they play on that fascination with malicious efficiency, and 3 is no exception",[54] something that was also reiterated by James Berardinelli of ReelViews saying that for fans of the franchise "it's unlikely that #3 will disappoint."[55]

The deaths scenes received positive reviews by critics, especially the tanning bed and nail gun scenes, which were described as "gruesome" and "painful".[56][57] Winstead's performance was universally praised by critics; the reviewer for the BBC stated, "...the real tragedy is that promising young actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead must endure this torture."[50] James Berardinelli says she "does as competent a job as one could expect in these dire circumstances."[58] Felix Gonzalez, Jr. speaks positively of Winstead and Merriman's performances, saying "the film is not entirely unwatchable. Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Ryan Merriman are likeable in the lead roles."[59]


Year Award / Film Festival Category Recipient Result Ref.
2006 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Highest Body Count Final Destination 3 Nominated [60]
Line That Killer (Best One-Liner) Crystal Lowe Nominated
Most Thrilling Killing Final Destination 3 Nominated
Sickest FX (Best Special Effects) Final Destination 3 Nominated
2007 Saturn Awards Best Horror Film Final Destination 3 Nominated [61][62]
Best DVD Special Edition Release Final Destination 3 (Thrill Ride Edition) Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Final Destination 3". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 6 February 2017. 
  2. ^ "Final Destination 3 (2-Disc Thrill Ride Edition)". IGN. Retrieved 9 January 2017. 
  3. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Final Destination 3 Movie Review (2006)". Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  4. ^ "Final Destination 3 – Movie Reviews – Rotten Tomaroes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 9 January 2017. 
  5. ^ "Final Destination 3 (2006) Review". Dreck Fiction. Retrieved 11 March 2017. 
  6. ^ "Final Destination 3". Moria. Retrieved March 6, 2017. 
  7. ^ a b Orange, B. Alan. "Splatter Shocks: Director James Wong Talks Final Destination 3!". MovieWeb. Retrieved February 6, 2017. 
  8. ^ "Cheating Death: Final Destination 3 (2006)". CinemaBlend. Retrieved January 28, 2017. 
  9. ^ Balchack, Brian. "The latest on Saw 2, The Fog and Final Destination 3". MovieWeb. Retrieved February 7, 2017. 
  10. ^ "'Cheating Death: Final Destination 3' Cast Members Announced". Bloody Disgusting. Archived from the original on September 11, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b c "Final Destination 3 Notes" (PDF). HollywoodJesus. 
  12. ^ a b "'Final Destination 3' Cast Rounds Out for Death". Bloody Disgusting. Archived from the original on October 8, 2015. Retrieved February 18, 2017. 
  13. ^ "Tony Todd Lands Role in Final Destination 3". Moviefone. Retrieved January 11, 2017. 
  14. ^ "Final Destination3 Cast & Director". Yahoo Movies. Archived from the original on March 9, 2013. Retrieved February 18, 2017. 
  15. ^ "Final Destination 3". February 10, 2006. Retrieved August 24, 2016 – via IMDb. 
  16. ^ "Final Destination 3 filming locations". Movie Maps. Retrieved February 6, 2017. 
  17. ^ "Final Destination 3 (2006)". Movie Locations and More. Retrieved February 6, 2017. 
  18. ^ "Most Popular Film Locations In Vancouver". 604 Now. Retrieved February 6, 2017. 
  19. ^ "Final Destination 3, Roller Coaster Scene...". Quick Movie Facts. Retrieved February 6, 2017. 
  20. ^ Washington, Shooker. "The Final Destination 3 Kids Speak Up1". Retrieved February 7, 2017. 
  21. ^ a b "'Final Destination 3': Going the Distance with VFX". Animation World Network. 
  22. ^ Goldwasser, Dan. "Shirley Walker's Final Destination 3 kicks off 2006 with a scream". ScoringSessions. Retrieved March 10, 2017. 
  23. ^ Miska, Brad. "Get Answers, Ask More Questions: Final Destination 5 Producer Craig Perry Round 4!". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved March 10, 2017. 
  24. ^ "Crystal Lowe during Final Destination 3 Los Angeles Premiere". Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  25. ^ "Mary Elizabeth Winstead at arrivals for Final Destination 3 Premiere, Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Los Angeles, CA, February 01, 2". Retrieved February 15, 2017. 
  26. ^ "Final Destination 3 Ringtones and Wallpapers". New Line Cinema. Archived from the original on March 5, 2006. Retrieved April 24, 2017. 
  27. ^ Faust, Christa. "Final Destination III: The Movie". Amazon. Retrieved March 11, 2017. 
  28. ^ "February 10–12, 2006 Weekend". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 8, 2017. 
  29. ^ "March 3–5, 2006 Weekend". BoxOfficeMojo. Retrieved January 8, 2017. 
  30. ^ "April 14–16, 2006 Weekend". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 8, 2017. 
  31. ^ "Final Destination 3". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 8, 2017. 
  32. ^ James Wong. Final Destination 3 (2006) (DVD). United States: New Line Cinema. Retrieved January 7, 2016. 
  33. ^ "Final Destination 3 Thrill-Ride Edition". Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  34. ^ "Final Destination 3". Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  35. ^ Jane, Ian. "Final Destination 3". Retrieved February 14, 2017. 
  36. ^ Brevet, Brad. "'Final Destination 3' DVD Goes Interactive". Retrieved February 9, 2017. 
  37. ^ Barton, Steve. "Final Destination 3 (DVD)". DreadCentral. Retrieved February 14, 2017. 
  38. ^ "Final Destination 3". Amazon Prime. Retrieved January 31, 2017. 
  39. ^ "Final Destination 3". Google Play. Retrieved January 31, 2017. 
  40. ^ Schmidt, Patrick. "50 Best Horror Movies on Netflix: Final Destination 3 added". Fansided. Retrieved January 31, 2017. 
  41. ^ Wieselman, Jarett; Madison III, Ira. "The Definitive Ranking Of "Final Destination" Deaths". BuzzFeed. Retrieved January 9, 2017. 
  42. ^ Colengelo, BJ. "The Conclusive Ranking of All 40 Death in the Final Destination Franchise". Retrieved January 28, 2017. 
  43. ^ Zárate, Irving. "Death Comes for Them All: Ranking Every Final Destination Kill". Retrieved January 28, 2017. 
  44. ^ "Picking Favorites: The "Final Destination" Series". Slasher Studios. Retrieved January 28, 2017. 
  45. ^ Barone, Matt. "The 10 Best "Final Destination" Death Scenes". Retrieved February 7, 2017. 
  46. ^ "Final Destination 3 (2006) – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 11, 2017. 
  47. ^ "FInal Destination 3". Metacritic. Retrieved January 11, 2017. 
  48. ^ "CinemaScore". 
  49. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Final Destination 3". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved January 11, 2017. 
  50. ^ a b Papamichael, Stella. "Final Destination 3 (2006)". Retrieved January 25, 2017. 
  51. ^ Chang, Justin. "Final Destination 3". Variety. Retrieved January 11, 2017. 
  52. ^ "Final Destination 3". IGN. Retrieved January 11, 2017. 
  53. ^ Dobbs, Sarah. "Final Destination: ranking the movies in order of quality". Den of Geek. Retrieved January 26, 2017. 
  54. ^ Shannon, Jeff (February 10, 2006). ""Final Destination 3": More mayhem, this time with nail guns and tanning beds". Seattle Times Newspaper. Retrieved April 24, 2017. 
  55. ^ Berandinelli, James (February 10, 2006). "Final Destination 3 (United States, 2006)". ReelViews. Retrieved April 24, 2017. 
  56. ^ Barone, Matt. "The 10 Best "Final Destination" Death Scenes". Complex UK. Retrieved January 9, 2017. 
  57. ^ "13 Craziest deaths from the Final Destination Movies". CraveOnline. Retrieved January 28, 2017. 
  58. ^ James Berardinelli. "Final Destination 3 – Reelviews Movie Reviews". Reelviews Movie Reviews. 
  59. ^ Gonzalex Jr., Felix. "Final Destination 3 (2006)". DVD Reviews. Archived from the original on November 19, 2008. Retrieved February 18, 2017. 
  60. ^ Scott Weinberg (August 26, 2006). "Fango Announces Chainsaw Nominees!". AOL Moviefone. Archived from the original on August 13, 2011. 
  61. ^ "Saturn Awards Nominations Announced". Firefox News. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved January 28, 2017. 
  62. ^ "Final Destination 3 Awards". Movie Awards. Retrieved January 8, 2017. 

External links[edit]