Often the end-of-the-world movie scenario spells the beginning of sky-high box-office. Look no further than Charlton Heston (who starred in Soylent Green, Planet of the Apes and The Omega Man), Mel Gibson (the Mad Max trilogy), and Will Smith (Independence Day, I, Robot and I am Legend, the Omega Man remake).
Anne Thompson looks further, noting that 2009 has seen/will see a number of dystopian films, from Terminator 4: Rise of the Machines and District 9 to the forthcoming animation 9 (soulful burlap dolls v. mechanical beasts), Roland Emmerich's 2012 ( an action/adventure with John Cusack trying to survive a global cataclysm) and John Hillcoat's The Road (a survivalist saga based on the Cormac McCarthy novel with Viggo Mortensen as a father who soldiers on with his son after the apocalypse).
Is there more apocalypse now than then? It seems like the most in about a decade., when the fears of the millennium and the Y2K virus were rampant. 1998/1999 saw Armageddon, Deep Impact, the first in the Matrix trilogy and Fight Club.
The end-of-the-world films that really get me are AI: Artificial Intelligence, The Ghost in the Shell and On the Beach. For me the most haunting dystopia movies (always a field day for art directors) are Brazil, Metropolis, Soylent Green, 12 Monkeys, ...28 Days Later and Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.
Do documentaries like An Inconvenient Truth (about global warming) and The End of the Line (about overfishing and the depletion of food fish) feed these scenarios of impending doom? Your thoughts? Nominations for most haunting end-of-the-world film?