Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008 theatrical film)

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Journey to the Center of the Earth
Center of the earth 3d.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Eric Brevig
Screenplay byMichael D. Weiss
Mark Levin
Jennifer Flackett
Based on
Produced by Beau Flynn
Charlotte Huggins
CinematographyChuck Shuman
Edited byPaul Martin Smith
Dirk Westervelt
Steven Rosenblum
Music by Andrew Lockington
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • July 11, 2008 (2008-07-11)
Running time
93 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$60 million [1]
Box office$244.2 million [1]

Journey to the Center of the Earth (also promoted as Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D or Journey 3D) is a 2008 American 3D science fantasy action-adventure film directed by Eric Brevig and starring Brendan Fraser in the main role, Josh Hutcherson, Anita Briem and Seth Meyers. Produced by New Line Cinema, it is an adaptation of Jules Verne's 1864 novel (which had previously been adapted multiple times, most notably in the 1959 film of the same name), and was released in 3D theaters by Warner Bros. Pictures on July 11, 2008.


The film also introduced the 4DX movie format, featuring "4D" motion effects in a specially designed cinema in Seoul, South Korea, using tilting seats to convey motion, wind, sprays of water and sharp air, probe lights to mimic lightning, fog, scents, and other theatrical special effects. [2]

The film received mixed reviews from critics and earned $244.2 million against a $60 million budget. [1]


In 2008, Trevor Anderson (Brendan Fraser) is a Bostonian volcanologist whose 13-year-old nephew, Sean (Josh Hutcherson), is supposed to spend ten days with him. Trevor learns at work that his brother's lab is being shut down because of a lack of funding. Trevor has forgotten that Sean is coming until he receives several messages from Sean's mother. When Sean's mother drops him off, she leaves Trevor with a box of items that belonged to Max, Trevor's brother and Sean's father, who disappeared 10 years before, in July 1997. Sean suddenly takes interest in what Trevor has to say after he tells him about his father, whom he never really had a chance to know. In the box, Trevor discovers the novel Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne. Inside the book Trevor finds notes written by his late brother. Trevor goes to his laboratory to find out more about the notes. There he realizes that he must go to Iceland to investigate for himself.

He intends to send Sean back to his mother, but relents at Sean's protest and brings Sean to Iceland with him. They start by looking for another volcanologist. When they get to that scientist's institution, they meet his daughter Hannah (Anita Briem), who informs them he is dead. She also tells them that both her father and Max believed that Jules Verne's books were factual accounts. However she offers to help them climb up to the instrument that has suddenly started sending data again. While hiking the mountain a lightning storm forces the three into a cave. The cave entrance collapses, trapping them, so they have no alternative but to go deeper in the cave, which turns out to be an abandoned mine.

Trevor, Sean, and Hannah investigate farther into the mine until they fall into a deep hole, taking them to the "Center of the Earth". They all continue until they discover a cave-dwelling that Max lived in. Trevor and Sean find Max's old journal. Hannah and Trevor discover Max's dead body and bury him. Trevor reads a message from Max's journal that was written on Sean's 3rd birthday (8.14.97). Trevor continues to read Max's journal until he realizes from his notes that they must quickly leave, as the temperature is steadily rising.

Trevor figures that they must find a geyser that can send them to the surface. They must do this in 48 hours or all of the water to create the geyser will be gone. They also figure that they must get out before the temperature rises past 135 degrees. They begin by crossing the underground ocean, and then the two adults become separated from Sean. Sean's guide is now a little bird who has been present since the trio entered the center, and it takes him towards the river. However, he encounters a Giganotosaurus, and Trevor - who desperately is searching for him - saves him. When they arrive at the geyser it is all dried up, having already taken place, and, to make things worse, molten hot magma is rising below them in a lava tube, endangering their lives. Trevor quickly discovers that there is a new water chamber behind a wall of magnesium.

Trevor uses a flare to ignite the magnesium in the wall and causes a geyser to shoot them through Mount Vesuvius in Italy. When they destroy the home of an Italian man, Sean gives him a diamond that he had found earlier. Trevor sees that he has many more in his backpack, and he uses them to fund his brother's laboratory. Throughout the adventure, Hannah and Trevor gradually become so attached to each other that they kiss. On the final day of Sean's visit with Trevor (and now Hannah), he is leaving their new home, which was purchased with some of the diamonds Sean took from the cave, and Trevor hands Sean a book titled "Atlantis", suggesting they could maybe hang out at Sean's during Christmas break.



Development and filming

In September 2001, Walden Media announced that Eric Brevig was hired and set to direct Journey to the Center of the Earth based on the book of the same name by Jules Verne. Michael D. Weiss, Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett wrote the script for the film. Beau Flynn and Charlotte Huggins produced the film with the budget of $60 million for release in 2008. In 2003, Brendan Fraser, Anita Briem, Josh Hutcherson, Seth Meyers, Jean-Michel Paré, Jane Wheeler, Giancarlo Caltabiano and Garth Gilker joined the film. Andrew Lockington composed the music for the film. The development and filming of the film was completed in Canada and Iceland in March 2006, followed by principal photography and production which began on April 20. In January 2007, New Line Cinema acquired distribution rights to the film. The film transposes the novel into the present day and is mostly live action, with only the landscape and creatures supplied by computer-generated graphics. [3] The film is projected using Real D Cinema and Dolby 3D. [4]

Josh Hutcherson's character, Sean, is named after the professor and conservation biologist Dr. Sean Anderson. [5]



The first trailer was shown before screenings of Meet the Robinsons , the re-release of The Nightmare Before Christmas and the release of Beowulf , with the Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert , and during the 2008 Kids' Choice Awards. Warner Bros. marketed the film like a theme park attraction. [6] However, the studio had to slightly tweak the campaign (including dropping "3D" from the title) when it became clear that the film would be shown in 3-D in far fewer theaters than anticipated. [7]

Theme parks

In May 2009, the film premiered as "Journey to the Center of the Earth 4-D" at Stone Mountain Park in Georgia. [8] It also opened in the motion simulator at Dollywood under the same name on June 12 the same year. [9] It also featured the new 4D Cinema at the Weston Super-Mare Grand Pier in the U.K and was shown in Movieworld on the Gold Coast.

Home media

Journey to the Center of the Earth was released on DVD and Blu-ray on October 28, 2008, in standard 2D format as well as a magenta / green anaglyph. It opened at #2 at the DVD sales chart, selling 843,224 units in the 1st week which translates to $13,238,617 in revenue. [10] As per the latest figures, 1,642,994 DVD units have been sold, bringing in $25,346,260 in revenue. This doesn't include Blu-ray Disc sales / DVD rentals. [10] The 2008 2-disc BD edition of the movie doesn't conform to the – only later established – 3D Blu-ray specifications, which means that this version doesn't take advantage of any dedicated 3D HDTVs, although it can be watched on 3D HDTVs, as well as on any other TV in anaglyph 3D, by using red-cyan paper glasses (four pairs are included). A 3D Blu-ray version was released on January 17, 2012.[ citation needed ]


Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, it has an approval rating of 61% based on 158 reviews with an average rating of 6/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "Modern visuals and an old fashioned storyline make this family adventure/comedy a fast-paced, kitschy ride". [11] Metacritic gave the film a 57 out of 100, based on 35 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews." [12] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade "A-" on scale of A to F. [13]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 2 stars out of 4, and wrote: "This is a fairly bad movie, and yet at the same time maybe about as good as it could be. There may not be an 8-year-old alive who would not love it." [14] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave it 2.5 out of 4, but warned "Remove a star from the rating if you take this Journey without wearing 3-D glasses. That’s where the real fun comes in." [15] Owen Glieberman of Entertainment Weekly gave it a B- and said "Journey is just the new version of a 1950s comin'-at-ya roller coaster, with a tape measure, trilobite antennae, and giant snapping piranha thrust at the audience." [16]

Box office

Journey to the Center of the Earth grossed $101.7 million in the US and $142.5 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $242 million. [1]

The film opened at #3 in North America, behind Hellboy II: The Golden Army and Hancock . The film grossed $21,018,141 in 2,811 theaters in its first week of release with an average of $7,477. 57 percent of the opening gross was taken from theaters which showed the film in 3-D. In second weekend it dropped to $12,340,435 and in third to $9,717,217. [6]


Teen Choice Awards 2008Choice Summer Movie: Action AdventureNominated
Young Artist Award 2009Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young ActorNominated Josh Hutcherson
BMI Film & TV Awards2009Won Andrew Lockington
World Soundtrack Awards2009Discovery of the YearNominated Andrew Lockington

International releases


In March 2009, Walden Media announced a sequel film, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island , starring Hutcherson, Dwayne Johnson, Michael Caine, Luis Guzman, and Vanessa Hudgens. Fraser and Briem's characters did not return, and Jane Wheeler was replaced by Kristin Davis. Journey 2 was filmed between November 2010 and February 2011 and was released in February 2012. Like the first film, the sequel was shot in 3D, and the script is loosely based on a Verne novel – The Mysterious Island .

Journey to the Center of the Earth: 4-D Adventure

Journey to the Center of the Earth 4-D Adventure is a 15-minute 4D film shown at various 4D theatres all over the world. It retells the condensed story of the film with the help of 3D projection and sensory effects, including moving seats, wind, mist and scents. Produced by SimEx-Iwerks, [17] the 4D experience premiered in 2009. Locations included Warner Bros. Movie World (20102012), [18] Dollywood (20092012), [19] Enchanted Kingdom (2009), [20] Stone Mountain, and Rainbows End.

Related Research Articles

Jules Verne French writer (1828–1905)

Jules Gabriel Verne was a French novelist, poet, and playwright. His collaboration with the publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel led to the creation of the Voyages extraordinaires, a series of bestselling adventure novels including Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas (1870), and Around the World in Eighty Days (1872). His novels, always well documented, are generally set in the second half of the 19th century, taking into account the technological advances of the time.

Brendan Fraser Canadian-American actor (born 1968)

Brendan James Fraser is an American-Canadian actor. He played Rick O'Connell in The Mummy trilogy (1999–2008), and has played leading roles in numerous comedy and fantasy films, including Encino Man (1992), Airheads (1994), George of the Jungle (1997), Dudley Do-Right (1999), Monkeybone (2001), Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008), Inkheart (2008), and Furry Vengeance (2010). Fraser branched into dramatic cinema with roles in School Ties (1992), With Honors (1994), The Passion of Darkly Noon (1995), Mrs. Winterbourne (1996), Gods and Monsters (1998), Crash (2004), Journey to the End of the Night (2006), and Gimme Shelter (2013). In addition to film acting, Fraser has had successful roles on television, including in the History miniseries Texas Rising (2015), the Showtime drama series The Affair (2016–2017), the FX anthology series Trust (2018), the Epix series Condor (2018), and the DC Universe / HBO Max action series Doom Patrol (2019–present).

<i>Journey to the Center of the Earth</i> (1959 film) 1959 film by Henry Levin

Journey to the Center of the Earth is a 1959 American science fiction adventure film in color by De Luxe, distributed by 20th Century Fox. The film, produced by Charles Brackett and directed by Henry Levin, stars James Mason, Pat Boone, and Arlene Dahl. Bernard Herrmann wrote the film score, and the film's storyline was adapted by Charles Brackett from the 1864 novel of the same name by Jules Verne.

<i>Journey to the Center of the Earth</i> 1864 science fiction novel by Jules Verne

Journey to the Center of the Earth, also translated with the variant titles A Journey to the Centre of the Earth and A Journey into the Interior of the Earth, is a classic science fiction novel by Jules Verne. It was first published in French in 1864, then reissued in 1867 in a revised and expanded edition. Professor Otto Lidenbrock is the tale's central figure, an eccentric German scientist who believes there are volcanic tubes that reach to the very center of the earth. He, his nephew Axel, and their Icelandic guide Hans rappel into Iceland's celebrated inactive volcano Snæfellsjökull, then contend with many dangers, including cave-ins, subpolar tornadoes, an underground ocean, and living prehistoric creatures from the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras. Eventually the three explorers are spewed back to the surface by an active volcano, Stromboli, located in southern Italy.

<i>The Mysterious Island</i> 1874 novel by Jules Verne

The Mysterious Island is a novel by Jules Verne, published in 1875. The original edition, published by Hetzel, contains a number of illustrations by Jules Férat. The novel is a crossover sequel to Verne's famous Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas (1870) and In Search of the Castaways (1867–68), though its themes are vastly different from those books. An early draft of the novel, initially rejected by Verne's publisher and wholly reconceived before publication, was titled Shipwrecked Family: Marooned with Uncle Robinson, seen as indicating the influence of the novels Robinson Crusoe and The Swiss Family Robinson. Verne developed a similar theme in his later novel, Godfrey Morgan.

<i>Voyages extraordinaires</i> Collection of works by Jules Verne

The Voyages extraordinaires is a collection or sequence of novels and short stories by the French writer Jules Verne.

<i>Voyage: Inspired by Jules Verne</i> 2005 video game

Voyage: Inspired by Jules Verne is a point-and-click adventure game with pre-rendered graphics, developed by Kheops Studio and published by The Adventure Company for the PC in 2005. The game's story focuses on a French adventurer's journey to the Moon in the 19th century, and the ancient lunar civilization he subsequently finds.

Josh Hutcherson American actor and producer (born 1992)

Joshua Ryan Hutcherson is an American actor and producer. Hutcherson began acting in the early 2000s and appeared in several commercials and minor film and television roles before landing his first major role in 2002 in the pilot episode of House Blend. His first film role was in Miracle Dogs (2003) on Animal Planet, followed by a motion-capture performance in The Polar Express (2004) and a voice-acting role in Howl's Moving Castle (2005).

<i>Mysterious Island</i> (1961 film) 1961 film by Ray Harryhausen, Cy Endfield

Mysterious Island is a 1961 science fiction adventure film about prisoners in the American Civil War who escape in a balloon and then find themselves stranded on a remote island populated by giant and tiny animals.

Journey to the Center of the Earth is an American science fiction Saturday-morning cartoon, consisting of 17 episodes, each running 30 minutes. Produced by Filmation in association with 20th Century Fox Television, it aired from September 9, 1967 to September 6, 1969 on ABC Saturday Morning. It featured the voice of Ted Knight as Professor Lindenbrook/Sacknussem. It was later shown in reruns on Sci Fi Channel's Cartoon Quest.

Journey to the Center of the Earth is an 1864 science fiction novel by Jules Verne.

<i>Invention for Destruction</i> 1958 film by Karel Zeman

Invention for Destruction is a 1958 Czechoslovak black-and-white science fiction adventure film, directed by Karel Zeman, produced by Zdeněk Novák, and starring Lubor Tokoš, Arnošt Navrátil, and Miloslav Holub. Based on several works by Jules Verne, primarily his 1896 novel Facing the Flag, the film evokes the original illustrations for Verne's works by combining live actors with various forms of animation.

Anita Briem is an Icelandic actress. She is known for her role as Queen Jane Seymour on The Tudors and her role as Hannah Ásgeirsson in Journey to the Center of the Earth.

<i>Journey to the Center of the Earth</i> (2008 video game) 2008 video game

Journey to the Center of the Earth is an action game for the Nintendo DS based on the 2008 film of the same name, and was developed by Hungarian studio Human Soft and published by THQ.

<i>Journey to the Center of the Earth</i> (2008 direct-to-video film) 2008 American film

Journey to the Center of the Earth is a 2008 direct-to-DVD film created by The Asylum and directed by David Jones and Scott Wheeler.

29th Young Artist Awards

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<i>Journey 2: The Mysterious Island</i> 2012 American film

Journey 2:- The Mysterious Island is a 2012 American science fantasy action-adventure film produced and directed by Brad Peyton and Beau Flynn, Tripp Vinson and Charlotte Huggins. A sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008), the film is based on Jules Verne's The Mysterious Island (1875). It stars Dwayne Johnson, Michael Caine, Josh Hutcherson, Vanessa Hudgens, Luis Guzmán, and Kristin Davis. The storyline was written by Richard Outten, Brian Gunn and Mark Gunn, and the screenplay by Brian and Mark Gunn.

<i>Journey Through the Impossible</i> Play by Jules Verne

Journey Through the Impossible is an 1882 fantasy play written by Jules Verne, with the collaboration of Adolphe d'Ennery. A stage spectacular in the féerie tradition, the play follows the adventures of a young man who, with the help of a magic potion and a varied assortment of friends and advisers, makes impossible voyages to the center of the Earth, the bottom of the sea, and a distant planet. The play is deeply influenced by Verne's own Voyages Extraordinaires series and includes characters and themes from some of his most famous novels, including Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and From the Earth to the Moon.

<i>Willy Fog 2</i> Childrens animated television series produced by BRB Internacional

Willy Fog 2 is a Spanish animated television adaptation of the novels Journey to the Center of the Earth and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne, with the characters from Around the World with Willy Fog, produced by Spanish studio BRB Internacional and Televisión Española that was first broadcast on La 2 between 24 September 1994 and January 1995.

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