This Friday, Tom Cruise faces the challenges of living on an Earth almost completely abandoned by humanity in Oblivion. In June's After Earth, Will and Jaden Smith play a father-son pair who crash land on Earth, thousands of years after humans have left it. Next year Russell Crowe stars in Darren Aronofsky's retelling of the Noah's Ark tale-- the original disaster movie.
Noticing a trend here? Hollywood studios have always been fascinated by destroying the world, but in the next year or so they're going into overdrive, rolling out a solid dozen films that meet the Earth in some state of massive destruction. Blame the now-passe Mayan Apocalypse, blame all the very real things that seem to be threatening our existence, or just blame your usual Hollywood greed-- we're about to see the world fall apart onscreen over and over again, and to be honest, it's already getting confusing.
If you've been mixing up Oblivion and Elysium or can't remember if it's The World's End or This Is The End that stars Simon Pegg, we've got you covered. Using the patent-pending Emmerich Scale (named, of course, for the godfather of apocalypse movies, Roland Emmerich), we've ranked the upcoming world-destroying movies on a scale of 1-- White House Intact-- to 5-- White House in smithereens. Pick your apocalypse setting below.
After Earth It's right there in the title: in M. Night Shyamalan's vision of the future, all the planet has left is Will Smith and Jaden Smith, and even they've crash-landed on their way somewhere else. The planet isn't dead entirely, but it's so overrun with new mutants and other terrifying obstacles that it may as well be as far as humanity's concerned. If it's total global change you're looking for, Shyamalan is the guy to bring it.
Oblivion Oblivion still scores a solid 5 on the Emmerich scale, but it's a hair below After Earth because-- possible spoiler?-- some humans are hanging in there on the planet, led by Morgan Freeman and his badass steampunk goggles. But unlike the lush jungles of After Earth the world of Oblivion is mostly deserts and craggy mountains, so this is damn near a toss-up.
Noah Why venture into the future for your cataclysmic destruction of humanity when the grandaddy of them all is right there in the past? Darren Aronofsky will destroy the world Biblical style with this new take on Noah's Ark that promises to be even darker and grittier… as if the tale of God destroying the world wasn't dark enough already. We don't know exactly how much destruction we'll see, but given that the waters eventually recede and Noah and his family are fruitful and multiply into, y'know, the entire human race, the destruction at least isn't permanent.