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Everest (2015 film)

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Everest (2015 film)

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Baltasar Kormákur
Produced by
Written by
Music by Dario Marianelli
Cinematography Salvatore Totino
Edited by Mick Audsley
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • June 23, 2015 (2015-06-23) (CineEurope)
  • September 18, 2015 (2015-09-18) (United States and United Kingdom)
Running time
121 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $55 million[2]
Box office $176.8 million[2]

Everest is a 2015 survival film directed by Baltasar Kormákur and written by William Nicholson and Simon Beaufoy. The film stars are Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, Emily Watson, and Jake Gyllenhaal.

The film opened the 72nd Venice International Film Festival on September 2, 2015, and was released theatrically on September 18, 2015.[3] It is based on the real events of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, and focuses on the survival attempts of two expedition groups, one led by Rob Hall (Clarke) and the other by Scott Fischer (Gyllenhaal).

The film was first released in IMAX 3D on September 11, 2015, in the UK and in IMAX 3D, RealD 3D, and 2D internationally, and exclusively in IMAX 3D, September 18, 2015, across 545 theaters in the United States and Canada, and along 36 other countries. It began a U.S. wide release on September 25, 2015, across 3,006 theaters. The film received positive reviews from critics and has grossed over $176 million.


In March 1996, several commercial expeditions arrive at Mount Everest base camp to prepare for a climb to the summit. Rob Hall, who first popularized guided Everest climbs, is the leader of Adventure Consultants, whose clients include Beck Weathers, an experienced climber; Doug Hansen, a former mailman pursuing his dream; and climbing veteran Yasuko Namba, who is hoping to complete her last of the Seven Summits. Scott Fischer is the chief guide for competitor Mountain Madness. Helen Wilton is Rob's base camp manager.

A month earlier in New Zealand, Rob says goodbye to his pregnant wife, Jan, and promises he will be home for the birth. At base camp, Rob receives a fax from her, informing him their baby will be a girl. He wants to name her Sarah, but Jan is against it.

Worried about crowding on the mountain, Rob persuades Scott to cooperate to reduce delays. On the summit attempt, Rob's group departs Camp IV before dawn, planning to reach the top and turn around by 2 p.m., the latest safe time that will allow them to return to camp before nightfall. They are delayed over an hour after discovering guide ropes are not yet installed on upper reaches of the climb. Beck has eyesight problems and stops. Rob tells him not to continue if his condition does not improve in a half hour. Scott hurries back to camp to help another climber but is intent on re-ascending. Rob warns him about excessive exertion.

Rob reaches the summit on time and is joined by other climbers including Yasuko, who jubilantly plants her flag of Japan in the snow. On the way down, Rob encounters Doug struggling just above the Hillary Step and orders him to turn back. Doug says he will not get the chance again and insists on continuing. Rob reluctantly agrees, and together they reach the summit after 4 p.m. Also at the top is Scott, exhausted and increasingly ill from high-altitude pulmonary edema.

As Rob helps Doug descend, a blizzard strikes the mountain. Doug's oxygen bottle runs out, and he becomes semi-conscious. No full extra bottles are stored on the route where Rob had asked. Rob radios Helen to send someone up with oxygen. Doug, left alone briefly by Rob, unclips himself from the guide rope in his hypoxia daze and walks unsteadily along the extremely narrow path on the mountainside. A moment later he silently topples to his death.

Scott's condition worsens, and he tells fellow climbers to continue descending without him. He lies down—soon to die. Returning climbers reach Beck, his vision still impaired. The group becomes lost when the blizzard obliterates the trail. Three climbers go for help, leaving Beck and Yasuko behind.

Guide Andy Harris reaches Rob with the oxygen, which freezes shut. The two huddle together in the storm. While Rob sleeps, Andy hallucinates and falls to his death. In the morning, Rob radios Helen and tells her that Doug and Andy are gone and that his hands and feet are frozen. Helen calls Jan, hoping Rob will respond to her voice. Jan tells Rob that he must start moving. Rob tells her he is cold but comfortable and asks her to name their baby Sarah. He dies soon after.

Returning climbers tell the camp that Beck and Yasuko are stranded. The weather is too dangerous for a rescue. Helen calls Beck's wife, Peach, and informs her of the situation. In the morning, Beck miraculously regains consciousness, sees that Yasuko has died, and stumbles back to camp alone, to the astonishment of everyone. He is severely frostbitten and desperately needs medical help. Peach calls the American Embassy and organises a helicopter rescue. The flight is dangerous because of the thin air, but the aircrew successfully makes the high-altitude medical evacuation. One of Scott's guides finds his body.

Returning home, Helen has an emotional reunion with Jan, who later gives birth and names her daughter Sarah. Beck returns to his family, heavily bandaged. Closing titles inform the audience that he lost both hands and nose to severe frostbite and that Rob's body still remains on Everest.




Baltasar Kormákur directed the film, about the 1996 disastrous expedition to scale Mount Everest, which was scripted by Simon Beaufoy and Mark Medoff,[11] with early script adaptations carried out by Justin Isbell and William Nicholson. The film was produced by Working Title Films.[12] Universal Pictures distributes the film in US.[13] The film was produced by Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, and started shooting in November 2013.[14] In September 2013, Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films were set to co-finance the film,[15] but in October they exited as co-financiers.[16]

After the production start date of November 6, 2013 had passed,[17] Cross Creek Pictures and Walden Media joined the production on November 12, 2013, and financed the film with $65 million.[18] The film started production on January 13, 2014, in the Ötztal Alps in Italy, after which production moved to Nepal and Iceland.[18][19] On December 11, 2013, The Hollywood Reporter posted that South Tyrol's regional film board added $1 million to the film's funding.[20]

On January 30, 2014, Universal set a February 27, 2015 release date for the film,[21] but on March 21, 2014, it was moved to September 18, 2015.[3]


As of February 19, 2013, Christian Bale was in talks to join the cast of the disaster film to play Rob Hall, the leader of a New Zealander group who ran Adventure Consultants.[13] On July 17, Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Jason Clarke and John Hawkes were cast as leads in the film. Bale dropped out around this time.[14] Gyllenhaal played Scott Fischer, the leader of the Mountain Madness expedition; Brolin played Beck Weathers, a doctor; Clarke took the role of Rob Hall, also an expedition leader; and Hawkes played Doug Hansen, one of Rob Hall's clients, who encounters difficulties on the descent from the summit of Everest.[4]

On February 4, 2014, Clive Standen also joined the cast, while shooting was underway.[9] On February 7, 2014, more cast was added to the film, including Martin Henderson, Emily Watson, Thomas M. Wright, and Michael Kelly. Watson played a motherly base camp figure who works closely with Rob Hall, and Kelly played Into Thin Air author Jon Krakauer.[6] On February 17, actor Micah Hauptman was added to the cast in the role of filmmaker and mountaineer David Breashears, who directed the 1998 IMAX documentary film Everest.[10] On March 24, 2014, Sam Worthington and Robin Wright joined the cast. Worthington played Guy Cotter and Wright played Beck Weathers' wife, Peach.[5] On May 1, revealed that Keira Knightley had joined the film as Jan Arnold, Rob Hall's pregnant wife.[7]


Additional portions of the film, including scenes that take place just above the icefall to camp 3, were filmed at 10,000 feet at Val Senales in Italy.[22]

In November 2013, the film was set for a January 13, 2014 production start date in Italy. Co-financier Brian Oliver told Variety they would shoot in Ötztal Alps in Italy for six weeks, a month in Iceland, and then move to Nepal for another month's shoot.[19] In early January 2014, actors Gyllenhaal and Brolin were practicing for climbing mountains in the Santa Monica Mountains, to train for their roles.[23]

The 44-member crew arrived on January 12, 2014 in Nepal and stayed in Kathmandu. They had permission to film from January 9 to 23.[24][25] Later filming on Everest commenced on January 13, 2014.[26] On January 14, Brolin and Hawkes filmed shots[27] at local terminal of Tribhuvan International Airport, and then they were to be filming at Lukla Airport on January 15, then to Namche Bazaar, and later at the Everest Base Camp, news confirmed.[24] After shooting completed in Nepal, the crews were to move to Italy (Schnalstal and Rome),[28] and then in early March to UK, to film at Pinewood Studios.[26] On February 23, 2014, Gyllenhaal was spotted in Rome during filming, which recently wrapped up in Nepal.[29] Brolin was also spotted with his assistant, Kathryn Boyd.[30]

English actor Clive Standen has said that filming on location in freezing temperatures has been "tough but fun".[31] On March 24, 2014 the shooting was said to be taking place at the Everest Base Camp in Nepal.[5] Base camp exteriors were filmed on the backlot at Cinecitta Studios in Rome, where bright sunlight could be achieved to resemble the lighting at base camp.[22]

On April 18, 2014, while the second unit crew was shooting remaining scenes of the film at Camp II on Everest, an avalanche struck, killing 16 Sherpa guides. The Sherpas were carrying equipment and supplies to camps for climbers in advance of the start of the summer climbing season.[32][33] Deadline reported there were no injuries or fatalities affecting the film crew. The production was not present where the disaster took place, but they were nearby. Filming at Pinewood Studios in England was just about to finish up, but the second unit was shooting at the camp which then had to halt the production for some time.[34] Hillary Step, camp 4, icefall and the summit were built on the 007 stage at Pinewood Studios with greenscreen for CG backgrounds. Totino said, "It was very challenging because we had to re-create the sun, which at Everest is so incredibly sharp and crisp." The team used SoftSun lights for creating sun on the summit, Hillary Step and icefall. "They were 9 feet long and 3 ½ feet in diameter and 100,000 watts. They had to be moved around on cranes because they are very heavy," Totino said."[22] To photograph one scene during which expedition guide Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) is stuck on the mountain in the storm, Totino recalled: "We tented off a portion of the set with some very heavy plastic and brought in these giant refrigerating units, half the size of a semi truck, and we cooled that part of the stage down to about 26 to 28 degrees Fahrenheit [around -3°C] and brought in real snow. Baltasar really wanted the actor to feel like he was frozen. You really see and feel that."[22] The film was shot with Arri Alexa XT cameras, using the Arriraw format.[22]


Dario Marianelli composed the music for the film.[35]

Soundtrack trivia

The film uses the song "Yeh ladka hai Allah" from the Bollywood movie Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001), when the climbing party first arrives in Nepal. The song plays in the bus when it passes through a busy Nepali bazaar. Another song in the film is "All I Wanna Do", performed by Sheryl Crow, which is accurate to the timing of the film's events, in 1996.


Universal Pictures had originally slated the film for a September 18, 2015 release date in the United States and Canada.[3] However, the film was released on September 18, 2015 exclusively in IMAX 3D, followed by a wide theatrical release on September 25, 2015.[36] In the United States and Canada, it was released in Dolby Vision format in Dolby Cinema, the first ever for Universal Pictures.[37] It was screened at the 2015 CineEurope on June 23, 2015 at the Centre Convencions Internacional Barcelona in full 3D Dolby Atmos.[38][39] The film's world premiere took place on September 2, 2015 at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival in the Sala Grande, at the city's Palazzo del Cinema in Venice.[40][41]


On February 12, 2014, the first photo from the set of the film was revealed, featuring Clarke.[42] On June 4, 2015, the first trailer for the film was released online, with an appeal for relief for the April 2015 Nepal earthquake through Oxfam America in the coda.


Box office

As of November 1, 2015, Everest has grossed $42.3 million in North America and $132.9 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $175.2 million, against a budget of $55 million.[2] Everest had the biggest September worldwide IMAX opening with $7.2 million, breaking the record previously held by Resident Evil: Retribution ($6 million).[43]

Prior to its wide theatrical opening in the United States and Canada on September 25, the film received a limited release in IMAX 3D and other premium large format screens across 545 theaters on September 18 in order to build good word of mouth.[36] It made $325,000 from 481 IMAX screens and premium large-format screens from late night showings, which began at 7pm,[44][45] and an estimated $2.3 million on its opening day.[46] It finished off the weekend at number five with $7.6 million from 368 IMAX and 177 premium large-format theaters.[47][48] IMAX comprised 78% ($5.8 million) of the opening weekend gross while premium large formats contributed 22% ($1.7 million).[48] This broke the record for the biggest IMAX September debut (breaking The Equalizer‍ '​s $3.1 million record in 2014).[49] Everest is the first major film since Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011) to receive IMAX only release for more than two days (The Walk became the next when it replaced Everest on September 30, 2015).[48]

Everest expanded into a total of 3,006 theaters on Friday after a limited 3D, IMAX and other premium large formats engagement. It earned $4 million on its wide opening day on Friday.[50] During its wide opening weekend it earned $13.09 million from 3,006 theaters of which $3.7 million came from 366 IMAX screens raising its total North America IMAX revenue to $11.5 million—the first ever September IMAX release to reach past $10 million.[51] The largest demographic of the opening weekend audience was male (51%) and under the age of 35 (45%).[51]

Internationally, Everest will be released in a total of 65 countries.[52] In its opening weekend, it grossed $28.8 million from 5,154 screens from 36 markets opening at No. 1 in 12 countries.[43] IMAX comprised $3 million of the opening gross.[43] In its second weekend, it expanded to 22 more markets earning $33.9 million from 62 markets—topping the box office.[53] Russia and the CIS posted the highest opening with $5.2 million followed by the United Kingdom, Ireland and Malta ($4.9 million), Mexico ($4.4 million), Germany ($2.9 million) and Australia ($2.4 million).[43][53] In terms of total earnings, the United Kingdom ($16 million) and Germany ($9.3 million) are the largest markets. It became the 8th Universal Pictures film of 2015 to cross the £10 million mark in the United Kingdom. The only other studios ever to achieve the feat are 20th Century Fox in 2014 and Paramount Pictures in 2011.[54][55] It will open next in China on November 3 and Japan on November 6.[54]

Critical response

Everest has received generally positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 72%, based on 178 reviews, with an average rating of 6.7/10. The site's consensus reads, "Everest boasts all the dizzying cinematography a person could hope to get out a movie about mountain climbers, even if it's content to tread less challenging narrative terrain."[56] On Metacritic the film has a score of 64 out of 100, based on 39 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[57]

Jon Krakauer, author of Into Thin Air, denounced the movie, stating some of its details were fabricated and defamatory. He also expressed regret regarding Sony's rapid acquisition of the rights to the book. Director Baltasar Kormákur responded, claiming Krakauer's first-person account was not used as source material for the film and alleging that Krakauer's version conflicted with actual events.[58]

See also


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