When "Earthquake" came out almost exactly 37 years ago, it was the fourth biggest hit of 1974, behind "Blazing Saddles," "The Towering Inferno" and "Young Frankenstein." (Man, Mel Brooks used to rule Hollywood.) Part of that success was no doubt due to its big cast (Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner, George Kennedy) and the fact that disaster movies were pretty popular. But another factor was Universal's decision to release the L.A.-set film in "Sensurround," a sound system that incorporated low-frequency noises to mimic rumblings in the theater. (The studio wanted you to "feel" the earthquake as it was happening.) Thank goodness Hollywood no longer tries such silly gambits to get people to go to the movies anymore, huh? Oh, sorry, our mistake: They still totally do that. Which is why it's sorta perfect that a new earthquake movie being worked on will be in 3D. In fact, "3D" is even in the title: That's just how 3D it's going to be.
24 Frames has heard from "a person who was briefed on the movie but not authorized to discuss it publicly" that New Line is developing "San Andreas: 3D," a disaster movie that taps into most Southern Californians' fear about "The Big One," the cataclysmic temblor that wipes out much of California. But beyond doing "San Andreas: 3D" in 3D, New Line also wants to make sure it follows the blueprint of a recent disaster-film success:
[T]here's a lot of escape in this new movie -- the hero is forced to go on the road to reconcile with his children and his estranged wife, who's moved away and taken up with another man a la John Cusack's character in "2012." (According to a person who's read the script, the "San Andreas" hero makes the trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco using some rather, er, unconventional transportation.)
What could that possibly mean? Our guess: He hitches a ride with an irreverent pelican who dreams of becoming a rap superstar.
Since we live in Los Angeles, we've prepared ourselves for a major earthquake for a while -- buying emergency kits, putting together contact lists, coordinating meetup locations -- but we realize that the one thing we've always overlooked is making sure that we've reconciled with our children and estranged wife. If you haven't, the chances of a life-changing disaster (at least in the movies) goes up exponentially.
'San Andreas: 3D' -- a '2012' for 2012? [24 Frames/Los Angeles Times]