Poseidon (film)

Poseidon is a 2006 American survival thriller film directed and co-produced by Wolfgang Petersen. It is the third film adaptation of Paul Gallico's 1969 novel The Poseidon Adventure, and a loose remake of the 1972 film of the same name. It stars Kurt Russell, Josh Lucas, Richard Dreyfuss, Emmy Rossum, Jacinda Barrett, Mike Vogel, Jimmy Bennett, and Andre Braugher. It was produced and distributed by Warner Bros. in association with Virtual Studios. It had a simultaneous release in IMAX format. It was released on May 12, 2006, and nominated at the 79th Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects.[2] It grossed $181 million worldwide on a budget of $160 million; however, after the costs of promotion and distribution, it lost around $69 million for the studio.[3]

Poseidon (2006) film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byWolfgang Petersen
Screenplay byMark Protosevich
Based onThe Poseidon Adventure
by Paul Gallico
Produced by
CinematographyJohn Seale
Edited byPeter Honess
Music byKlaus Badelt
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • May 6, 2006 (2006-05-06) (Tribeca)
  • May 12, 2006 (2006-05-12) (United States)
Running time
98 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$160 million
Box office$181.7 million[1]


The RMS Poseidon, a luxury ocean liner, is making a transatlantic crossing. Former New York City Mayor and firefighter Robert Ramsey is traveling with his daughter Jennifer and her boyfriend Christian to New York, soon to be engaged. Also on board is former Navy submariner-turned-professional gambler Dylan Johns, architect Richard Nelson, Maggie James and her son Conor, stowaway Elena, and waiter Marco Valentin.

As the passengers are enjoying a New Year's Eve party, officers on the bridge see a huge rogue wave bearing down on the ship. To survive the wave, they try to steer the ship to starboard to take the wave bow-first, but it does not turn fast enough. The wave swamps and capsizes the ship, killing the bridge officers along with many passengers and crew. In the ballroom, a badly injured Captain Bradford attempts to restore order and assures the surviving passengers that help is on the way, and tries to persuade them to stay put. Unconvinced, Dylan leads Conor, Maggie, Robert, Richard, and Valentin as they make their way towards the bow, where he believes that they will have the best chance of escaping from the capsized liner.

As they head up, they have to cross an elevator shaft, into which Valentin falls to his death before being crushed by the falling elevator. They reunite with Jennifer, Christian, Elena, and gambler Lucky Larry, who had all been in the nightclub section of the ship, and who are the only survivors out of all of the occupants in the nightclub. The group crosses a makeshift bridge across the lobby, where Lucky Larry gets crushed by an engine. The pressure from the water finally cracks the ballroom windows, drowning the occupants, including Captain Bradford. With the water rising rapidly, the group escapes through an air duct and some ballast tanks, although Elena hits her head underwater and drowns as a result.

With the ship slowly sinking, the survivors soon find themselves in a crew lounge where they find the bow section is flooded, until an explosion of the engine room lifts it out of the water. The group enters the bow thruster room and are horrified to find the thrusters still running. With their path blocked by the propellers, and knowing that the control room is submerged in water, Robert swims away to turn off the engine. He finds the 'shut off' switch to be broken, but presses the reverse button instead, before drowning.

With the propellers now spinning in the other direction, Dylan throws a nitrogen tank into it, causing an explosion that destroys the propeller, and leaving an opening for them to escape through. The group jumps out the thruster and swims to a nearby inflatable raft, and as they are getting into the raft, the ship starts to sink. As they are paddling away, the waves push the raft farther away from the sinking liner. Across the water, the survivors look on as the ship sinks stern-first deep into the ocean. After the survivors fire a flare, two helicopters and several ships arrive to rescue them, having tracked the location of the Poseidon's GPS beacon.



Production on the film began in July 2005.[4]


As with the 1972 The Poseidon Adventure film, 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 soundstage at Warner Bros. studios in Burbank, California, two sets for each main room were built, one right-side-up and the other upside down. The upside-down ballroom was built on top of a large water tank in the soundstage so it could be flooded and drained in a matter of hours. The interior and exterior shots of the ship rolling were constructed with computer-generated imagery.

Visual effectsEdit

The primary visual effects were completed by Industrial Light & Magic and Moving Picture Company. ILM used the most advanced version of mental ray to photorealistically light and render the shots, and was responsible for all of the ship's exterior shots. The most complicated work was the opening shot of the ship, where the camera tours the ship's exterior. It 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 known as PhysBAM was used, created in collaboration with Stanford University. Harold "Howie" Weed was the film's computer graphics modeler.

Digital interiors and water effects were created by MPC, while liquid and gaseous effects were simulated with Scanline VFX proprietary software Flowline. Other shots were done by CIS Hollywood, with water effects simulated using RealFlow.[5][6]


The soundtrack was released on May 9, 2006, and includes music composed by Klaus Badelt, as well as songs performed by Fergie, who played the character Gloria in the film, and by Federico Aubele.

No.TitlePerformed byLength
1."Won't Let You Fall"Fergie4:39
3."Postales"Federico Aubele4:09
4."The Poseidon"Klaus Badelt3:19
5."The Wave"Klaus Badelt4:37
6."A Map and a Plan"Klaus Badelt2:30
7."Fire Dive"Klaus Badelt2:48
8."Claustrophobia"Klaus Badelt7:09
9."Drowning"Klaus Badelt3:05
10."Don't Look Down"Klaus Badelt3:44
11."Escape"Klaus Badelt2:42

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.


On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, Poseidon has a score of 33% based on 203 reviews, with an average rating of 5.00/10. The consensus reads, "This remake of The Poseidon Adventure delivers dazzling special effects. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem that any of the budget was left over to devote to the script."[7] On Metacritic, which assesses films on a score out of 100, Poseidon has a rating of 50 based on 36 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[8] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave it an average grade "B" on an A+ to F scale.[9] It was also nominated for the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Remake or Ripoff, losing to Little Man. However, it was commended for its realistic use of CGI in the capsizing scenes[10] and nominated for the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, losing to Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.

It grossed $22,155,410 on its opening weekend, for an average of $6,232 from 3,555 theaters, finishing in second place behind Mission: Impossible III.[11] It eventually earned $60,674,817 in the United States and $121,000,000 in foreign markets, for a total gross of $181,674,817.[1]

The film holds a Guinness World Record for the most detailed CG model in a film. The exterior shots included 181,579 individual objects, with 382 cabins, 876 portholes, 73 towels, and 681 deck chairs, all created by digital effects company Industrial Light & Magic.[citation needed]

Home mediaEdit

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.[12] Domestic DVD sales for Poseidon were $27,196,438.[13]


  1. ^ a b "Poseidon". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 16, 2007.
  2. ^ "IMDb 2006 Oscar page". Internet Movie Database. Archived from the original on January 26, 2011. Retrieved January 23, 2007.
  3. ^ Gabbi Shaw (February 27, 2017). "The biggest box office flop from the year you were born". Insider. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  4. ^ "Director Wolfgang Petersen's Action Adventure Poseidon, from Warner Bros. Pictures, Now in Production". Business Wire. Berkshire Hathaway. July 5, 2005. Retrieved July 3, 2019.
  5. ^ "Poseidon: Making a Big CG Splash". Archived from the original on May 15, 2010. Retrieved February 18, 2010.
  6. ^ fxguide, LLC (May 8, 2006). "maya:after effects:avid - Wipe out: 'Poseidon' Fluid Simulations". fxguide. Archived from the original on January 6, 2010. Retrieved June 8, 2010.
  7. ^ "Poseidon (2006)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 12, 2021.
  8. ^ "Poseidon". Metacritic. Retrieved April 12, 2021.
  9. ^ "Cinemascore". Archived from the original on December 20, 2018.
  10. ^ McClintock, Pamela (May 21, 2006). "Pic rocks the Warners boat". Variety. Retrieved August 22, 2009.
  11. ^ "Poseidon sinks at US box office". Guardian Unlimited. May 15, 2006. Retrieved September 16, 2007.
  12. ^ "Poseidon". DVD Active. Retrieved September 16, 2007.
  13. ^ "Poseidon DVD". The Numbers. Retrieved September 10, 2008.

External linksEdit