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
Edited by Peter Honess
Distributed by Warner Bros.
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 $181.7 million[1]

Poseidon is a 2006 disaster film directed and co-produced 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. 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.

Poseidon is Petersen's last film to date. He has not directed a major project since the film's release.


The MS Poseidon, a luxury ocean liner named for the Greek god of the sea, is making a transatlantic crossing.

Jennifer Ramsey (Emmy Rossum) and boyfriend Christian (Mike Vogel) are hoping to be engaged, but her father, former New York City Mayor Robert (Kurt Russell), has doubts about their relationship. Elena (Mía Maestro), a stowaway, is going to see her ill brother in New York. She is helped by Valentin (Freddy Rodriguez), a waiter on the ship's staff who agreed to smuggle her on board. Dylan Johns (Josh Lucas) is a smooth-talking professional gambler who meets a woman, Maggie James (Jacinda Barrett), with a son, Connor (Jimmy Bennett). Richard Nelson (Richard Dreyfuss) is an architect left distraught by his estranged lover leaving him.

Most of the passengers are celebrating a New Year's Eve party at the ship's ballroom, unaware of the danger about to befall on them. Moments later, officers on deck sees a 150 feet (Rogue wave), heading towards the ship. Nelson, waiting for his lover's call, sees the incoming wave, and immediately runs back to warn the others. The wave strikes on starboard side, and the ship rotates 180 degrees, killing the officers and most of the passengers on its decks as it submerges. Windows break as a result of the catastrophe, and the ship begins to sink. Calm is restored after Captain Michael Bradford (Andre Braugher) assures the passengers that rescue boats will be there in a couple of hours, with the air in the sealed ballroom providing ballast to keep the ship afloat. A few surviving passengers head toward the bow, where they believe they will have the best chance of surviving the capsized liner. They overcome several dangerous obstacles along the way, battling through fire and water to make it through the propeller tubes. One by one, the survivors begin dying as they try to make it to the "bottom" of the ship and the surface. Later, due to a prolonged submersion, the pressure of the water creates stress on the ballroom windows, causing them to rupture. The ballroom floods and its occupants drown.

With the boat slowly sinking, the survivors pick up the pace, and soon find themselves in the galley where they see the bow section is flooded. An explosion in the stern causes the bow to rise out of the water, making it accessible. Robert, Christian, Jen and Nelson go first, leaving Dylan, Maggie and Connor behind. Connor is trapped but is eventually saved by Dylan. Knowing that the control room for the propellers is now below water, Robert and Christian protest, but Robert swims away to turn off the engine. Although the 'off' switch is broken, Robert manages to hit the reverse button, before giving his life. The propellers are turning in the other direction, and Dylan finds a nitrogen tank and throws it in, creating an explosion that stops them. After climbing through the propeller tube, they jump overboard and into an inflatable raft. The ship rolls on its side, flinging the raft away from the ship. The survivors watch as the "Poseidon" sinks into the depths. After firing a flare, two helicopters arrive and rescue the six survivors.



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 the 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. Other shots were handled by CIS Hollywood, with water effects simulated using RealFlow.[3][4]


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 by 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 was commended for its realistic use of CGI in the capsizing scenes[5] 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 during 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.[6] Warner Bros. President and Chief Operating Officer Alan F. Horn called the domestic grosses, "very, very disappointing".[citation needed] 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.[7] Domestic DVD sales for Poseidon were $27,196,438.[8]


  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: Making a Big CG Splash
  4. ^ fxguide, LLC (2006-05-08). "maya:after effects:avid - Wipe out: 'Poseidon' Fluid Simulations". fxguide. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 
  5. ^ McClintock, Pamela (May 21, 2006). "Pic rocks the Warners boat". Variety. Retrieved August 22, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Poseidon sinks at US box office". Guardian Unlimited. May 15, 2006. Retrieved September 16, 2007. 
  7. ^ "Poseidon". DVD Active. Retrieved September 16, 2007. 
  8. ^ "Poseidon DVD". The Numbers. Retrieved September 10, 2008. 

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