This Is the End is a 2013 American apocalyptic comedy horror film written, directed and produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg in their directorial debuts. It is a feature-length film adaptation of Rogen and Goldberg's short film Jay and Seth Versus the Apocalypse (2007), which was directed by Jason Stone, who serves as an executive producer on the film. Starring James Franco, Jonah Hill, Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Michael Cera and Emma Watson, the film centers on fictionalized versions of its cast in the wake of a global biblical apocalypse in Los Angeles.
Produced by Mandate Pictures and Rogen and Goldberg's Point Grey Pictures, This Is the End premiered at the Fox Village Theater on June 3, 2013, before being released theatrically in the United States nine days later on June 12 by Sony Pictures Releasing, via its Columbia Pictures label. Upon release, the film became both a critical and commercial success, receiving generally positive reviews from critics and grossing $126 million worldwide on a budget of $32–41.9 million.
Jay Baruchel arrives in Los Angeles to visit old friend and fellow Canadian actor Seth Rogen, who invites him to a housewarming party hosted by James Franco. There, Jay is uncomfortable at the crowded party, so Seth takes him to a convenience store for cigarettes. When beams of blue light suddenly come down and suck numerous people into the sky, Seth and Jay flee back to James' house and find the party unharmed. An earthquake strikes and the crowd rushes outside, witnessing a sinkhole opening up in James' yard. Several celebrities and partygoers are killed as Seth, Jay, James, Jonah Hill and Craig Robinson run back inside and discover on the news that the earthquake has destroyed most of Los Angeles. The remaining partygoers take inventory of their supplies, set up a ration system, board up the house and await help.
Danny McBride, who crashed the party and fell asleep, wakes up first the next morning and wastes much of the group's food and water due to his ignorance of the crisis. He disbelieves what the others tell him of the previous night's events until a man outside gets decapitated by an unseen creature. Tensions rise due to various conflicts, including Jay and Seth's growing estrangement and the others' skepticism of Jay's belief that the disaster might be the Apocalypse predicted in the Book of Revelation. Emma Watson makes her way back to James' house, only to flee with the group's remaining drinks after misinterpreting an overheard conversation, believing they intend to rape her.
Craig tries to obtain water from James' cellar, only to find the doors locked. Outside he encounters an unknown being, causing him to believe Jay's theory. Jay and Seth dig through the floor and find the water, but Danny wastes most of it out of spite and the others kick him out of the house. Before leaving, Danny reveals that Jay was in town two months prior, but stayed at a hotel instead of with Seth due to their strained friendship. That night, Jonah prays for Jay to die and is possessed by a demon. While Craig and Jay head to a neighbor's house to scavenge for supplies, Seth and James get attacked by the possessed Jonah. Jay and Craig return and help subdue Jonah, tying him to a bed. During an exorcism attempt, Jay and Seth fight and knock over a candle, starting a fire that engulfs Jonah and the house and forces the others outside.
James suggests driving to his home in Malibu, but finds his car guarded by a demon. Craig voluntarily sacrifices himself to help the others get into the car and is raptured into Heaven; the others realize they can save themselves by performing a selfless act. On the way to Malibu, the three encounter cannibals led by Danny and his sex slave, Channing Tatum. James volunteers to sacrifice himself and a blue beam that begins to pull him to Heaven appears. However, James taunts and insults Danny, causing the beam to vanish and for Danny and the other cannibals to eat him alive while Seth and Jay escape and encounter Satan, who attempts to eat them. After Jay apologizes to Seth for his wrongdoings, a blue beam strikes and causes him to ascend to Heaven without Seth. Jay grabs Seth's hand as he heads up, but his presence prevents them from ascending into Heaven; Seth forces Jay to leave him behind, after which another beam appears around Seth and inadvertently castrates Satan.
In Heaven, Seth and Jay are reunited with Craig, who tells them that any wish comes true there. After Jay wishes for the Backstreet Boys, the band performs "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)" as everyone dances.
Most of the film's cast portray fictional and exaggerated versions of themselves:
Additionally, Brian Huskey portrays a survivor who attempts to enter Franco's home and Ricky Mabe appears as one of McBride's cannibals, dressed as Santa Claus. Jason Trost makes an uncredited appearance as JTRO, a character he previously portrayed in The FP (2011). Carol Sutton also appears as a gas station cashier in an early scene. Jason Stone (who previously directed Jay and Seth Versus the Apocalypse, the short film This Is the End is based on), provides the voices of Satan, the possessed Hill and the other demons in an uncredited role.
This Is the End was based on Jay and Seth Versus the Apocalypse, a short film written by Rogen and Goldberg and directed by Jason Stone (who serves as an executive producer on the film) in 2007. Regarding the film, Rogen and Goldberg told interviewers that "We always wanted to do a movie where people played themselves and something extraordinary happened; the initial version of the film was Seth Rogen and Busta Rhymes were filming a music video and a film respectively, on the Sony lot, and Antmen attacked from the center of the earth."
In an interview with The Guardian, Goldberg commented on the influences contributing to the film, "If you drilled down to the core of what I do, it's just ripping off little bits of Charlie Kaufman. Seth and I always loved The Larry Sanders Show too. And the popularity of reality television now also feeds into that idea of whether what we're watching is actually real. We thought working with our friends in that situation would be awesome because they're all comedians willing to take stabs at themselves." The actors play fictionalized and exaggerated versions of themselves in the film, with only James Franco having no objections to doing what the script wanted him to do.
While the film is set in Los Angeles, principal photography took place in New Orleans due to financial incentives from that city. Filming rolled from February to early July 2012. The film had a production budget of $42 million, with $32 million spent in Louisiana. Modus FX created over 240 visual effects for the film, such as natural disasters, set extensions for the house, computer-generated demons and the Rapture beams. After filming wrapped, Rogen and Goldberg were displeased with their ending; they considered putting Morgan Freeman in Heaven, but he declined. Since "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)" already played in an earlier scene and Rogen and Goldberg wanted to close on an over-the-top note, they decided to feature the Backstreet Boys in the scene instead.
During filming, Emma Watson left the set due to scenes being improvised that she felt uncomfortable with, such as the progression of the graphic nature of the scenes involving Danny McBride as a cannibal and Channing Tatum as his sex slave. Rogen confirmed this, stating it was "an overall shitty situation, and it must've been hard for her to say something", elaborating "I'm very sorry and disappointed it happened, and I wish I had done more to prevent it."
Originally, the film's working title was The Apocalypse, which was later changed to The End of the World. The name was then changed to This Is the End on December 20, 2012, upon the release of its first trailer and poster. This was done at the request of Rogen's Paul costar Simon Pegg, who wrote to Rogen in concern that The End of the World was similar to his own comedy film The World's End, which was also released in the summer of 2013 and centered around an apocalypse with an ensemble cast. As The World's End was also the name of a key location in that film, Pegg felt worried that he couldn't change the name of his film.
In a May 2023 interview with The Daily Beast, Jay Baruchel revealed that the onscreen depiction of his difficulties with Jonah Hill in the film weren’t entirely fictional, saying “Not telling tales out of school, I don’t think, Jonah and I don’t get along super well, or at least didn’t back then.”
This Is the End: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is the soundtrack of the film. It was released on June 11, 2013 by RCA Records.
The score by Henry Jackman, with additional material by Dominic Lewis and Matthew Margeson and conducted by Nick Glennie-Smith, was not officially released on its own, not even as bonus tracks on the CD or digital releases on RCA's album. Despite that, a promotional album for the score does exist, according to Soundtrack.net.
On April 1, 2013, Sony released an April Fools' Day trailer for Pineapple Express 2, which was actually a teaser trailer for This Is the End and was later shown in that film itself. According to Rogen and Goldberg however, the homemade Pineapple Express 2 film in This Is the End depicts what they envision for the actual sequel. On June 7, MTV released a promotional video featuring the main cast of the film in character in an alternate scenario in which they are roommates with two members of The Real World: Portland during the apocalypse.
The film was rated R for "crude and sexual content throughout, brief graphic nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violence" by the Motion Picture Association of America; this rating shocked both Rogen and Goldberg, who expected an adults-only NC-17 rating for the film. Goldberg stated that "All the ratings stuff doesn't make sense in the first place, but this is like ludicrous"; Rogen commented: "We actually made it even a little worse than we wanted and that [original] version got approved. Insanely, [we] didn't have a ratings issue."
Sony re-released the film in 2,000 theaters across North America on September 6, 2013.
The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on October 1, 2013. It was the last film to be rented by Blockbuster Video before they went out of business at 11:00 PM on November 9, 2013.
The Blu-ray release fully contains the original short film the film was based on, Jay and Seth Versus the Apocalypse, as a special feature.
This Is the End grossed $101.5 million in North America and $25.1 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $126.5 million, against a production budget of $32-41.9 million. It made a net profit of $50 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues for the film.
The film was released in North America on June 12, 2013 alongside Man of Steel, and was projected to open to around $12 million from 3,055 theaters. The film made $7.8 million on its first day and went on to debut to $20.7 million in its opening weekend (a five-day total of $33 million), finishing second at the box office behind Man of Steel ($116.6 million). In its second weekend it grossed $13.3 million, dropping to 4th.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 83% based on 228 reviews, with an average rating of 7.1/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Energetic, self-deprecating performances and enough guffaw-inducing humor make up for the flaws in This Is the End's loosely written script." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 67 out of 100, based on 41 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a letter grade of "A" and said, "You could sit through a year's worth of Hollywood comedies and still not see anything that's genuinely knock-your-socks-off audacious. But This Is the End . . truly is. It's the wildest screen comedy in a long time and also the smartest, the most fearlessly inspired and the snort-out-loud funniest." Brian D. Johnson of Maclean's wrote, "There could be worse ways to experience the apocalypse than with a party of stoned celebrities at James Franco's house. For one thing, his epic art collection can be used to board up the cracking walls against demons and zombies. That's the screwball scenario of This Is the End...The film unfolds as a profanely funny showbiz parody. But with perfect timing, it also sends up a genre that has recently gone viral at the multiplex: the apoca-blockbuster."
Rick Groen of The Globe and Mail gave the film one-and-a-half stars out of five, comparing the film to the interminable wait for a cancelled bus and referring to the actors in the film as "the lazy, the privileged and the mirthless".
When Goldberg was asked whether a sequel to the film was probable, he replied, "If you ask me, I'd say there's a pretty good chance of a sequel. If you ask Seth Rogen, he'd say no." In June 2013, Goldberg revealed some ideas for a sequel in which the apocalypse occurs at the premiere of the first film. "Seth's a cokehead in this version, Michael Cera is a calm dude with a boyfriend, Rihanna and The Backstreet Boys are back," Goldberg stated in an interview. "We have a lot of ideas: a heaven and hell for example and a Garden of Eden version where Danny [McBride] is Adam." Despite this, Goldberg has also said that it would be difficult to recreate the casting conditions from the first film due to different schedules, believing them to be a stroke of luck by saying: "I honestly don't know if we could get the guys together [again]." In May 2014, Rogen posted an update on Twitter about a potential sequel, saying: "I don't think we'll make a sequel to This Is the End, but if we did, it would be called No, THIS Is the End."
This Is the End was adapted into a 3D maze titled This Is the End 3D for Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood in 2015, two years after the film's release. The maze served as the event's first comedy horror-based attraction.
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