Olympus Has Fallen

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Olympus Has Fallen
Olympus Has Fallen poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAntoine Fuqua
Produced by
  • Antoine Fuqua
  • Gerard Butler
  • Alan Siegel
  • Ed Cathell III
  • Danny Lerner
  • Mark Gill
Written by
  • Creighton Rothenberger
  • Katrin Benedikt
Music byTrevor Morris
CinematographyConrad W. Hall
Edited byJohn Refoua
Distributed byFilmDistrict
Release date
  • March 18, 2013 (2013-03-18) (Hollywood)
  • March 22, 2013 (2013-03-22) (United States)
Running time
119 minutes[1][2]
CountryUnited States
Budget$70 million[3]
Box office$170.3 million[3]

Olympus Has Fallen is a 2013 American action thriller film directed by Antoine Fuqua, and written by Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt. It is the first installment in the Fallen film series. The film stars Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Robert Forster, Cole Hauser, Ashley Judd, Melissa Leo, Dylan McDermott, Radha Mitchell, and Rick Yune. The plot depicts a North Korean-led guerrilla assault on the White House, and focuses on disgraced United States Secret Service agent Mike Banning's efforts to rescue the US President, Benjamin Asher.

The film was released in the United States on March 22, 2013, by FilmDistrict. It earned $170 million against a $70 million production budget. The film received mixed reviews from critics, who praised Fuqua's direction and Butler's performance, but criticized the violence and screenplay. Olympus Has Fallen was one of two films released in 2013 that dealt with a terrorist attack on the White House; the other was White House Down.

A sequel, titled London Has Fallen, was released on March 4, 2016, with the principal cast members reprising their roles. Another sequel, Angel Has Fallen, was released in 2019.


Former U.S. Army Ranger Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is a Secret Service agent assigned to head the U.S. presidential detail, maintaining a personal, friendly relationship with President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart), First Lady Margaret (Ashley Judd), and their son Connor (Finley Jacobsen). On a snowy Christmas drive from Camp David to a campaign fundraiser, the car transporting the First Family spins out of control on an icy bridge. Banning pulls Asher from the vehicle, but fails to save Margaret as she falls to her death.

Eighteen months later, Banning works at the Treasury Department, having been removed from the presidential detail. During Asher's meeting with South Korean Prime Minister Lee Tae-Woo (Keong Sim) at the White House, the Koreans for United Freedom (KUF), a North Korean terrorist group led by Kang Yeonsak (Rick Yune), mounts an air attack (with an AC-130 gunship) and hundreds of ground assault mercenaries to capture the building, killing most of the White House defending workforce. Aided by rogue members of the prime minister's own detail, including former Secret Service agent-turned-private contractor Dave Forbes (Dylan McDermott), they hold Asher and several top officials hostage in the PEOC, where Lee is executed on live video. Before being killed, agent Roma (Cole Hauser) alerts Secret Service Director Lynne Jacobs (Angela Bassett) that "Olympus has fallen." Banning joins the White House's defenders during KUF's initial assault. He falls back into the White House, disabling internal surveillance and gaining access to Asher's satellite ear phone, which he uses to maintain contact with Jacobs and Speaker of the House Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), now acting president, in the Pentagon's emergency briefing room.

Kang uses Asher's hostage status to force Trumbull to withdraw the Seventh Fleet and U.S. forces from the Korean Peninsula, thus removing American opposition to a North Korean invasion of South Korea, and seeks to detonate the American nuclear arsenal, turning the United States into an irradiated wasteland in revenge for his mother's death. To do this, he requires access codes to the Cerberus system, held only by Asher, Secretary of Defense Ruth McMillan (Melissa Leo), and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Joseph Hoenig (James Ingersoll), all of whom are inside the PEOC. Asher orders McMillan and Hoenig to reveal their codes to save their lives, certain that he will not give up his own code.

Authorized to proceed, Banning's first act is to save Connor, whom Kang plans to use to force Asher to reveal his Cerberus code. Banning finds Connor hiding in the building's walls and sneaks him to safety. On reconnaissance, Banning kills several of the terrorists, including Forbes. Army Chief of Staff General Edward Clegg (Robert Forster) convinces Trumbull to order an aerial SEAL assault on the White House. The KUF discovers the assault force and activates the advanced Hydra 6 anti-aircraft system. Kang retaliates by executing Vice President Charlie Rodriguez (Phil Austin).

After Banning disables Kang's communications, Kang tries to execute McMillan outside the White House in front of the media, but Banning rescues her. Banning takes out most of Kang's forces, but Kang escapes and retreats back to the bunker. With the KUF dwindling, Kang fakes his and Asher's death by sacrificing several of his commandos and the remaining hostages in a helicopter explosion. Having two of the codes to Cerberus already, Kang eventually cracks Asher's code using a brute-force attack and activates the system. As Kang and his remaining men in the KUF attempt to escape, Banning ambushes and kills all of them except Kang. After Asher is shot, Banning confronts and engages in hand-to-hand combat with Kang. Asher, momentarily, distracts Kang, causing Banning to kill him. After Asher informs him of Cerberus, Banning disables it with the assistance of Trumbull and his staff.

Banning escorts Asher out of the White House as the latter receives medical attention. Afterwards, Banning is reappointed to the head of the president's security detail as Asher speaks to everyone of the aftermath of the attack.



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.[4] 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.[16]

Filming began in Shreveport, Louisiana, in mid-July 2012.[9] 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. For example, computers were used to create 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. 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. 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.[17]


The score was composed by Trevor Morris whose past projects included The Tudors and The Borgias.[18] The score was recorded at Trevor Morris Studios in Santa Monica with the Bratislava Slovak National Orchestra.

The record was released on March 15, 2013 via Relativity Music Group label.

All music composed by Trevor Morris

Olympus Has Fallen (Music from the Motion Picture)
1."Land of the Free"1:42
2."The Full Package / Snowy Car Talk"2:00
3."Stage Coach Crashes / Death of the First Lady"2:38
4."Rocky Road Ice Cream"1:16
5."White House: Air Attack"7:10
6."White House: Ground Attack"10:02
7."Olympus Has Fallen"2:00
8."P.E.O.C. Incarceration"2:21
9."Banning Steps Into Action"1:40
11."Banning Gathers Intelligence"5:10
12."Hunting Banning"2:05
13."He's in the Walls"1:09
14."Saving Spark Plug"3:52
15."Breaking Madam Secretary"2:49
16."How Do You Know Kang's Name?"2:16
17."Any Regrets"1:11
18."S.E.A.L. Helicopter Incursion"4:45
19."Walking the Plank"3:11
20."Pulling the Fleet"1:24
21."Mano e Mano"2:13
22."Stopping Cerberus"2:24
23."Day Break / We Will Rise / End Credits"5:06
Total length:69:00


Olympus Has Fallen was released in the United States on March 22, 2013.[6] 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.[19]

The film's trailer was criticized for using the U.S. Emergency Alert System, and several cable companies were fined by the Federal Communications Commission for airing the ad.[20]

Olympus Has Fallen grossed $98.9 million in the U.S. and Canada and $71.3 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $170.2 million against a budget of $70 million.[3] In its first weekend, the film earned $30.5 million finishing second at the box office, and exceeded predictions of $23 million.[21][22]

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on August 13, 2013, in the U.S. It earned $38.2 million in video rental sales in the U.S.[23]

Dispute as to Authorship[edit]

There is contemporaneous evidence that suggests that Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt were not the sole authors of Olympus has Fallen, but in fact Mr. Rothenberger's former partner, John S. Green, a lawyer in Pennsylvania and a fellow University of Pennsylvania alumnus with Rothenberger, was the source of the movie's characters and material.

In 2013, Rothenberger sued Green in federal district court in California, seeking a declaration that he was sole author. Green counterclaimed that he was the source of substantial material in the 41-page treatment that was registered with the WGA in the year 2002. The project languished for several years, and the partners began working on it again in 2009. In 2012, the screenplay was completed and then sold, but Rothenberger failed to disclose that Green had been a co-author (violation of copyright law).[24]

The California federal case between Rothenberger and Green was settled as to Olympus has Fallen for $175,000, the public later discovered in an unrelated Pennsylvania state court lawsuit involving the property sharing agreement in a divorce between Green and his ex-spouse. See Bausch v. Green, 188 A.3d 567 (Pa. Super. Ct. March 27, 2018) ("Together with a writing partner, Appellant [Green] co-authored a motion picture script which they titled: OLYMPUS IS FALLEN ("the Script"). During the period of their collaboration, Appellant and his writing partner [Rothenberger], in addition to OLYMPUS IS FALLEN, collaborated on a number of other writing projects. Appellant and the writing partner terminated their business relationship and parted ways some years ago prior to 2013. After their business and artistic collaboration ended, and without the knowledge of Appellant, his former writing partner marketed and sold the Script."

"By 2013, Appellant discovered the Script is the basis for the major motion picture OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN [(Millennium Films 2013)], and he was a party in California civil litigation [(the "California Litigation")] to determine, among other issues, the proper holder of the authorship rights in the Script and money damages, if any, owing to Appellant, or potentially from Appellant to his former writing partner, or anyone else. On or before July 8, 2013, Appellant, his former writing partner and other intentionally unnamed persons negotiated and signed a Confidential Settlement Agreement and Mutual Release ("the Agreement and Release").").


Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 49% based on 192 reviews and a weighted average rating of 5.39/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "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".[25] Metacritic assigns the film a weighted average score of 41 out of 100 based on 30 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[26] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.[27]

Richard Roeper compared Olympus Has Fallen with the Die Hard series for sharing the same style and momentum, calling it as "just too much of a pale Die Hard ripoff." He gave the film a C.[28]

David Edelstein was much more negative about 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."[29]


Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart, Angela Bassett and Radha Mitchell returned for a sequel titled London Has Fallen revolving around a major terrorist strike on London during the funeral of the British Prime Minister.[30] 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, did not return due to his commitments on The Equalizer.[31]

On May 1, 2014, it was announced that Focus Features had acquired distribution rights to the sequel and would release it on October 2, 2015, though this was later pushed back to January 22, 2016.[32] However, the film's release was delayed to March 4, 2016. On August 18, 2014, it was announced that Charlie Countryman director Fredrik Bond would take over direction from Fuqua,[33] but Bond left the film on September 18, just six weeks before shooting was set to begin.[34] However, on September 28, 2014, it was announced that Babak Najafi would take over direction of the sequel.[35]

On October 10, 2014, it was announced that Jackie Earle Haley would join London Has Fallen as a Deputy Chief Mason.[36] Filming for the sequel began on October 24, 2014.[37] The film was released on March 4, 2016.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Digital Cinema Package (DCP) – FilmDistrict USA Release
  2. ^ "OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN (15)". British Board of Film Classification. March 21, 2013. Archived from the original on March 24, 2013. Retrieved March 21, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c "Olympus Has Fallen (2013)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2013-05-25.
  4. ^ a b Sneider, Jeff (March 16, 2012). "Gerard Butler climbs 'Olympus Has Fallen'". Variety.
  5. ^ Sneider, Jeff (June 22, 2012). "Aaron Eckhart joins 'Olympus Has Fallen'". Variety.
  6. ^ a b Fleming, Mike (December 14, 2012). "FilmDistrict Moves 'Olympus Has Fallen' To March 22, 2013". Deadline.com.
  7. ^ a b Kit, Borys (July 10, 2012). "Melissa Leo and Rick Yune Joining 'Olympus Has Fallen'". The Hollywood Reporter.
  8. ^ Sneider, Jeff; McNary, Dave (June 25, 2012). "Angela Bassett joins 'Olympus'". Variety.
  9. ^ a b c Kit, Borys (July 12, 2012). "Ashley Judd, Robert Forster Join 'Olympus Has Fallen'". The Hollywood Reporter.
  10. ^ Kit, Borys (July 9, 2012). "Cole Hauser Joins Action Movie 'Olympus Has Fallen'". The Hollywood Reporter.
  11. ^ Kroll, Justin (June 29, 2012). "Dylan McDermott climbs 'Olympus'". Variety.
  12. ^ Patten, Dominic (July 7, 2012). "'Olympus Has Fallen' Adds Radha Mitchell". Deadline.com.
  13. ^ "Lance Broadway Goes from Major League Baseball to OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN". Archived from the original on 2013-02-15.
  14. ^ Kit, Borys (July 25, 2012). "Tory Kittles Joins 'Olympus Has Fallen'". The Hollywood Reporter.
  15. ^ "Interview with Malana Lea". Archived from the original on 2013-04-17. Retrieved 2013-04-22.
  16. ^ Kit, Borys (April 10, 2012). "Antoine Fuqua Circling 'Olympus' as White House Thriller Race Heats Up". The Hollywood Reporter.
  17. ^ Ian Failes, "How VFX saved Washington: Olympus Has Fallen". Fxguide. 25 March 2013.
  18. ^ "Trevor Morris to Score 'Olympus Has Fallen'". Film Music Reporter. January 14, 2013.
  19. ^ "FilmDistrict to Distribute Olympus Has Fallen". ComingSoon.net. October 26, 2012. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
  20. ^ Robertson, Adi (3 March 2014). "Cable companies fined $2 million for using Emergency Alert System tone in movie trailer | The Verge". The Verge. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
  21. ^ "Weekend Box Office Report: 'The Croods' and 'Olympus' Lead New Releases, Movies With Butter.com". Retrieved March 26, 2013.
  22. ^ "Box office has risen: Patriotic 'Olympus Has Fallen' beats Hollywood's expectations". The Washington Post. March 25, 2013. Retrieved March 26, 2013.
  23. ^ "Olympus Has Fallen (2013)". The Numbers. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  24. ^ Gardner, Eriq (May 14, 2013). "Judge Allows 'Olympus has Fallen' Writer Lawsuit to Continue (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  25. ^ "Olympus Has Fallen". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved April 9, 2020.
  26. ^ "Olympus Has Fallen". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 25, 2019.
  27. ^ "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.
  28. ^ Roeper, Richard. "Olympus Has Fallen Review - RichardRoeper.com". RichardRoeper.com. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
  29. ^ Edelstein, David (March 22, 2013). "Edelstein on Olympus Has Fallen: Hollywood Has Made Us a Vengeful Nation". Vulture.com. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
  30. ^ "OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN Sequel LONDON HAS FALLEN Moving Forward with Gerard Butler". Collider.
  31. ^ "London Has Fallen heads to AFM". screendaily.com.
  32. ^ "Focus Features Dates 'Olympus' Sequel 'London Has Fallen' For October 2015". Deadline.com. 2013-03-22. Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  33. ^ "Fredrik Bond to Direct 'Olympus Has Fallen' Sequel". Variety. August 18, 2014. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  34. ^ Kit, Borys (September 18, 2014). "'Olympus Has Fallen' Sequel Loses Its Director". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  35. ^ "Babak Najafi to Helm London Has Fallen". Comingsoon.net. September 28, 2014. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
  36. ^ 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.
  37. ^ "Instagram". Instagram.com. Retrieved December 18, 2015.

External links[edit]