Final Destination is an American horror franchise composed of five films, comic books and novels. It is based on an unproduced spec script by Jeffrey Reddick, originally written for the X-Files television series, and was distributed by New Line Cinema. All five films center around a small group of people who escape impending death when one individual (the protagonist of each film) has a sudden premonition and warns them that they will all die in a terrible mass-casualty accident. After evading their foretold deaths, the survivors are killed one by one in bizarre accidents caused by an unseen force engineering complicated chains of cause and effect, resembling Rube Goldberg machines in their complexity.
DVD set containing all five films
|Created by||Jeffrey Reddick|
|Films and television|
The series is noteworthy among other films in the horror genre in that the antagonist is not a stereotypical slasher or other physical being, but Death itself, subtly manipulating circumstances in the environment with a design on claiming anyone who escapes their fated demise.
In addition to the films, a novel series (which includes the novelizations of the first three films) was published throughout 2005 and 2006 by Black Flame. A one-shot comic book titled Final Destination: Sacrifice was released alongside select DVDs of Final Destination 3 in 2006, and a comic series titled Final Destination: Spring Break was published by Zenescope Entertainment in 2007.
|Directed by||James Wong (1, 3)
David R. Ellis (2, 4)
Steven Quale (5)
|Produced by||Glen Morgan (1, 3)
James Wong (3)
Warren Zide (1–5)
Craig Perry (1–5)
|Written by||James Wong (1, 3)
Glen Morgan (1, 3)
J. Mackye Gruber (2)
Eric Bress (2, 4)
Jeffrey Reddick (1–3)
Eric Heisserer (5)
by Jeffrey Reddick
A. J. Cook
Mary Elizabeth Winstead
|Music by||Shirley Walker (1–3)
Brian Tyler (4–5)
|Cinematography||Robert McLachlan (1, 3)
Gary Capo (2)
Glen MacPherson (4)
Brian Pearson (5)
|Edited by||James Coblentz (1)
Eric Sears (2, 5)
Chris G. Willingham (3)
Mark Stevens (4)
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema (1–4)
Warner Bros. Pictures (5)
March 17, 2000
Final Destination 2:
January 31, 2003
Final Destination 3:
February 10, 2006
The Final Destination:
August 28, 2009
Final Destination 5:
August 12, 2011
|Total (5 films):
|Budget||Total (5 films):
|Box office||Total (5 films):
In the original Final Destination, high school student Alex Browning (Devon Sawa) boards Volee Airlines Flight 180 with his classmates for a field trip to Paris, France. Before take-off, Alex has a premonition that the plane will explode in mid-air, killing everyone on board. When the events from his vision begin to repeat themselves in reality, he panics, and a fight breaks out, which leads to several passengers being left behind including Clear Rivers (Ali Larter), Carter Horton (Kerr Smith), Billy Hitchcock (Seann William Scott), Valerie Lewton (Kristen Cloke), Terry Chaney (Amanda Detmer), and Tod Waggner (Chad Donella), who witness the plane explode moments later. Afterwards, the survivors begin to die one by one through a series of bizarre accidents, and Alex attempts to find a way to "cheat" Death's plan before it's too late. Six months later, Alex, Clear, and Carter travel to Paris to celebrate their survival, believing they have finally cheated Death; however, after Carter is crushed by a giant neon sign, they realize that Death's plan is still in action.
Final Destination 2, picking up one year after the first film, features college student Kimberly Corman (A. J. Cook) heading to Daytona Beach for spring break with her friends Shaina, Dano, and Frankie (Sarah Carter, Alex Rae, and Shaun Sipos). En route, Kimberly has a premonition of a massive car pile-up on Route 23, killing everyone involved. She stalls her SUV on the entrance ramp preventing several people from entering the highway, including state trooper Thomas Burke (Michael Landes), Eugene Dix (T.C. Carson), Rory Peters (Jonathan Cherry), Kat Jennings (Keegan Connor Tracy), Nora and Tim Carpenter (Lynda Boyd and James Kirk), Evan Lewis (David Paetkau), and pregnant Isabella Hudson (Justina Machado). While Officer Burke questions Kimberly, the pile-up occurs as she predicted. In the days following the accident, the survivors begin to die one by one in a series of bizarre accidents. After learning about the explosion of Flight 180, Kimberly teams up with Clear Rivers, the only survivor of Flight 180 (from the first film), to try to save a new group of people from Death. This time the survivors are told that only "new life" can defeat Death, and they must stay alive long enough for Isabella to have her baby. It is later revealed that Isabella was never meant to die in the pile-up, and Kimberly drowns herself in a lake so that she can be resuscitated by emergency staff, thus granting her "new life"; saving her and Thomas.
Final Destination 3, set five years after the explosion of Flight 180 and four years after the pile-up on Route 23, has high school student Wendy Christensen (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) visiting an amusement park for grad night with her friends Kevin Fischer (Ryan Merriman), Jason Wise (Jesse Moss), and Carrie Dreyer (Gina Holden). As Wendy and her friends board the Devil's Flight roller coaster, Wendy has a premonition that the ride will crash, killing everyone on board. When Wendy panics a fight breaks out and several people leave or are forced off before the accident occurs, including Kevin, Wendy's younger sister Julie (Amanda Crew), Ian McKinley (Kris Lemche), Perry Malinowski (Maggie Ma), Erin Ulmer (Alexz Johnson), Lewis Romero (Texas Battle), Frankie Cheeks (Sam Easton), and Ashley Freund and Ashlyn Halperin (Chelan Simmons and Crystal Lowe). When the survivors start to die one by one in a series of strange accidents, Wendy and Kevin set out to save those who remain. Most of their attempts are futile, with the exception of Julie and themselves, leading them to believe they have cheated Death. However, the three "coincidentally" cross paths five months later and are caught right before in a horrifying subway accident. The characters' fate is unknown.
In The Final Destination, college student Nick O'Bannon (Bobby Campo) visits the McKinley Speedway for a study break with his friends Lori Milligan, Janet Cunningham, and Hunt Wynorski. While watching the race, Nick has a premonition that a race car crash will send debris into the stands, causing the stadium to collapse on the guests. When Nick panics a fight breaks out and several people leave before the accident occurs, including, Lori (Shantel VanSanten), Janet (Haley Webb), and Hunt (Nick Zano), security guard George Lanter (Mykelti Williamson), and spectators Jonathan Groves (Jackson Walker), Andy Kewzer (Andrew Fiscella), Samantha Lane (Krista Allen), Carter Daniels (Justin Welborn), and Nadia Monroy (Stephanie Honoré). Once again, the survivors are killed in a series of strange accidents except for Janet, who is rescued just moments before her death. This leads the remaining survivors to believe that they have cheated Death, until Nick has another premonition of a disastrous explosion at a shopping mall, which he manages to prevent, saving himself, Lori, and Janet. Two weeks later, Nick realizes the mall disaster vision was only meant to lead them to where Death wanted them to be.
In Final Destination 5, Sam Lawton (Nicholas D'Agosto) is on his way to a corporate retreat with his colleagues. While they cross the North Bay Bridge, Sam has a premonition that the bridge will collapse, killing everyone on it. Sam manages to persuade several of his co-workers to get off the bridge before the accident occurs, including Molly Harper (Emma Bell), Nathan Sears (Arlen Escarpeta), Peter Friedkin (Miles Fisher), Dennis Lapman (David Koechner), Olivia Castle (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood), Isaac Palmer (P. J. Byrne), and Candice Hooper (Ellen Wroe). After Candice and Isaac die in bizarre accidents, Sam is warned that Death is still after the survivors and told that if he wants to live he must kill someone who was never meant to die on the bridge, and claim their remaining lifespan. Olivia and Dennis are killed before they have a chance to save themselves, but Nathan claims the lifespan of a co-worker when he accidentally causes his death in a warehouse accident. Peter attempts to kill Molly, jealous that she survived instead of Candice. He eventually gains the lifespan of an investigating agent, but is killed by Sam before he can kill Molly. Sam and Molly later board a plane to Paris, which is later revealed to be Flight 180 from the first film. It is therefore revealed that the fifth film was a prequel, and all of its events had taken place prior to the rest of the film series. Unable to get off the plane, both are killed in the resulting explosion. The landing gear is flung towards New York City and crashes into a cocktail bar, killing Nathan, since the co-worker whose life he claimed had a terminal illness and was due to die any day.
Final Destination was written by Jeffrey Reddick after having "read a story about a woman who was on vacation and her mom called her and said, 'Don’t take the flight tomorrow, I have a really bad feeling about it.'". The woman switched flights and the plane she was originally supposed to take crashed. Originally having written the script as an episode of The X Files, Reddick decided to turn the script into a feature length film at the behest of one of his New Line Cinema colleagues. After reading his spec script, New Line Cinema hired Reddick to write the screenplay; James Wong and Glen Morgan were later brought on board to help with the script, making alterations to comply with their standards.
Final Destination, when compared to other top-grossing American horror franchises—A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Halloween, Hannibal Lecter, Psycho, Saw, Scream and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre—and adjusting for the 2011 inflation is the tenth highest grossing horror franchise in the United States at approximately $347.8 million.
|Film||Release date||Budget||Box office gross||Ref(s)|
|North America||Outside North America||Worldwide|
|Final Destination||March 17, 2000||$23 million||$53,331,147||$59,549,147||$112,880,294|||
|Final Destination 2||January 31, 2003||$26 million||$46,961,214||$43,465,191||$90,426,405|||
|Final Destination 3||February 10, 2006||$25 million||$54,098,051||$63,621,107||$117,719,158|||
|The Final Destination||August 28, 2009||$40 million||$66,477,700||$119,689,439||$186,167,139|||
|Final Destination 5||August 12, 2011||$40 million||$42,587,643||$115,300,000||$157,887,643|||
The Final Destination films, overall, have received a mixed reception from critics. The first three films received mixed reviews, while the fourth one got mostly negative reviews. The fifth film however got mostly positive reviews. The franchise has been praised for its innovative concept of Death killing people, instead of a usual slasher killer; the death sequences have also been praised for their creativity.
|Final Destination||34% (101 reviews)||36 (28 reviews)||B-|
|Final Destination 2||48% (109 reviews)||38 (25 reviews)||B+|
|Final Destination 3||43% (122 reviews)||41 (28 reviews)||B+|
|The Final Destination||29% (95 reviews)||30 (14 reviews)||C|
|Final Destination 5||62% (132 reviews)||50 (24 reviews)||B+|
On February 1, 2011, Tony Todd said in an interview with Dread Central that if Final Destination 5 was a success at the box office, then two sequels would be filmed back-to-back. On August 23, 2011, when asked whether he would be directing a sequel, Steven Quale elaborated, "Who knows. Never say never. I mean, it'll be up to the fans. We'll see how this one performs internationally and if it makes as much money as the fourth one, I'm sure Warner Brothers will want to make another one."
Throughout 2005, publishing company Black Flame released a series of Final Destination books which faithfully follow the premise of the films, with each involving a group of people who find themselves targeted by Death after surviving a catastrophe of some sort due to a character experiencing a precognitive vision. Their first five novels all featured original stories, with the first novel, entitled Dead Reckoning, has punk rocker Jessica Golden saving herself and several others from the collapse of Club Kitty in Los Angeles, earning Death's ire. Destination Zero, also set in LA, has magazine employee Patricia Fuller and few others survive a train bombing and afterward, while being stalked by Death, Patti learns this is not the first time her family has been hunted by the entity. End of the Line has a group of New York City subway crash survivors, led by twins Danny and Louise King, trying to escape Death, who uses an unknowing agent to hasten its acquisition of the survivors. In Dead Man's Hand a group meant to die in the crash of a Las Vegas glass elevator are stalked by both Death and the FBI, the latter believing the group's savior Allie Goodwin-Gaines was responsible for the elevator crash. Looks Could Kill has beautiful New York model Stephanie "Sherry" Pulaski stopping her friends from boarding a yacht when she has a vision of it exploding, but is left horribly disfigured and comatose by flying debris moments afterward when her vision comes true; eventually awakening the embittered Stephanie makes a deal with Death, aiding it in claiming her friends in exchange for having her good looks restored.
After the run of the original series of books Black Flame released novelizations of the first three films in January 2006. Black Flame's last Final Destination novel was Death of the Senses released in mid-2006. Taking place in New York the book has a homeless man named Jack Curtis saving policewoman Amy Tom from a maniac after having a vision of Amy's death; Amy's attacker is later revealed to be a serial killer who was meant to murder six other people (representing the first five senses and a sixth) who Death begins targeting as Jack and Amy rush to find and warn the intended victims. It was, due to a printing error, only available for a short period of time before being recalled, leaving only a few copies in circulation. A tenth novel, titled Wipeout and written by Alex Johnson, was planned, but cancelled; the book would have featured a pair of surfers and several others, after surviving a plane crash in Hawaii, being hunted by Death and the survivor of another disaster, an unstable soldier who had nearly died in an ambush in Afghanistan.
The first Final Destination comic book, entitled Sacrifice, was published by Zenescope Entertainment and came packaged with a limited edition DVD of Final Destination 3 sold exclusively at Circuit City. The premise of the story involves the survivor of a terrible accident and his friend Jim, who continually experiences images of other people's deaths, isolating himself from the rest of the world to escape the visions that torment him. Zenescope later released a five-issue miniseries, subtitled Spring Break, which involves a group led by Carly Hagan being stalked by Death after surviving a hotel fire and becoming stranded in Cancún, Mexico. The miniseries was later released in a trade paperback collection, which included the Sacrifice comic as bonus content.
- Conrich, Ian (2015). "Puzzles, Contraptions and the Highly Elaborate Moment: The Inevitability of Death in the Grand Slasher Narratives of the Final Destination and Saw Series of Films". Style and Form in the Hollywood Slasher Film. Palgrave Macmillan, London: 106–117. doi:10.1057/9781137496478_8.
- Wong, James (Director) (2000). Final Destination (DVD). United States: New Line Cinema.
- Ellis, David R. (Director) (2003). Final Destination 2 (DVD). United States: New Line Cinema.
- Wong, James (Director) (2006). Final Destination 3 (DVD). United States: New Line Cinema.
- Ellis, David R. (Director) (2009). The Final Destination (DVD). United States: New Line Cinema.
- Quale, Steven (Director) (2011). Final Destination 5 (DVD). United States: Warner Bros.
- Albin, Andrea (12 August 2011). "[Special Feature] ‘Final Destination’: Not So Final After All!". Bloody Disgusting. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
- "Tom's Inflation Calculator". HalfHill.com. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
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- "Final Destination (2000)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
- "Final Destination 2 (2003)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
- "Final Destination 3 (2006)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
- "The Final Destination (2009)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
- "Final Destination 5 (2011)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
- "Franchise Index". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
- "Final Destination Movies at the Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
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- "Exclusive: Tony Todd Talks Final Destination 5! Parts 6 and 7 Already in the Cards?". Dread Central. 31 January 2011. Retrieved 22 April 2011.
- Rhodes, Natasha (2005-03-15). Final Destination: Dead Reckoning. Black Flame. ISBN 1844161706.
- McIntee, David (2005-03-15). Final Destination: Destination Zero. Black Flame. ISBN 1844161714.
- Levene, Rebecca (2005-06-07). Final Destination: End of the Line. Black Flame. ISBN 1844161765.
- Roman, Steven (2005-09-13). Final Destination: Dead Man's Hand. Black Flame. ISBN 1844161773.
- Collins, Nancy (2005-11-29). Final Destination: Looks Could Kill. Black Flame. ISBN 1844163164.
- Rhodes, Natasha (2006-01-03). Final Destination. Black Flame. ISBN 1844163172.
- Collins, Nancy (2006-01-31). Final Destination 2. Black Flame. ISBN 1844163180.
- Faust, Christa (2006-01-03). Final Destination 3. Black Flame. ISBN 1844163199.
- McDermott, Andy (2006-08-01). Final Destination: Death of the Senses. Black Flame. ISBN 1844163857.
- Johnson, Alex. Final Destination: Wipeout. Black Flame. ISBN 1844164098.
- "Zenescope & Circuit City Offer Exclusive “Final Destination” Comic". Comic Book Resources. 13 June 2006. Archived from the original on 14 July 2017. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
- "Final Destination Trade Paperback Spring Break". Zenescope Entertainment. Archived from the original on 1 October 2011. Retrieved 14 July 2017.