For as long as there have been movies, there have also been disaster films.
Disaster movies go as far back as 1901, when the movie Fire! was made during the era of silent films. Nearly every decade since then has had a signature disaster movie, several of which have become blockbuster hits. Hollywood has made a very lucrative art form out of wide-scale destruction.
Why do we keep coming back to disaster movies? There’s an undeniable thrill to seeing some of our most famous iconography get destroyed onscreen. Roland Emmerich has pretty much made his entire career by continuously tapping into that desire.
What if, on a more basic level, what really attracts us to disaster movies are the everyman heroes and heroines who step up against overwhelming odds to save their family, friends, and even complete strangers? When the worst comes, we want to believe that our shared humanity will see us through safely. Almost every disaster movie follows that formula, and the selfish people rarely get out alive.
On May 29, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s latest film, San Andreas, shakes its way into theaters. San Andreas keeps the disaster movie recipe alive by following a man trying to save his family (as played by Carla Gugino and Alexandra Daddario) against the backdrop of a massive earthquake that levels most of California.
It’s a pretty safe bet that the characters played by Johnson, Gugino, and Daddario will make it out safely while millions perish in the background. That’s not the point. The point is whether we enjoy watching that play out and if San Andreas can take its place alongside some of Hollywood’s biggest disaster movies.
While we await the critical verdict on San Andreas, ComingSoon.net has taken a look back at 15 of the Biggest Disaster Movies of all time. And if you don’t agree with our picks, share your own in the comment section below!
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