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White House Down

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White House Down

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Film information

Directed by

Roland Emmerich

Produced by

Roland Emmerich
Bradley J. Fischer
Harald Kloser
James Vanderbilt
Larry Franco
Laeta Kalogridis

Music by

Thomas Wander and Harald Kloser

Cinematography

Anna Foerster

Studio

Centropolis Entertainment

Distributed by

Columbia Pictures

Language

English

Budget

$150,000,000

Gross Revenue

$205,366,737

White House Down is an American action-thriller film directed by Roland Emmerich, written by James Vanderbilt and starring Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx and Maggie Gyllenhaal. The film was released on June 28, 2013. The film was in competition with another Die Hard in the White House film, called Olympus Has Fallen.

In this film, U.S. Capitol Police officer John Cale (Channing Tatum) takes his estranged daughter Emily (Joey King) on a tour of the White House after being rejected to join the Secret Service. When the White House was taken over by a paramilitary terrorist group, led by vengeful head Secret Service presidential agent Martin Walker (James Woods) and embittered ex-Delta Force commando Emil Stenz (Jason Clarke), Cale has to save President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx), Emily and also prevent the start of World War III.

Although White House Down is met with a mixed reception, it had much warmer reception than competitor Olympus Has Fallen but was a box-office flop.

PlotEdit

U.S. President James Sawyer is receiving controversy over a proposed peace treaty between allied countries to remove military forces out of the Middle East.

John Cale is a U.S. Capitol Police officer assigned to Speaker of the House Eli Raphelson after Cale saved Raphelson's nephew's life during a tour in Afghanistan. Cale is struggling to develop a better relationship with his daughter Emily, who has a strong enthusiasm for politics. He hopes to impress her by getting a job with the Secret Service, but his hopes are dashed when the interview is conducted by Carol Finnerty, a former college acquaintance of his who believes him to be unqualified due to a lack of respect for authority and follow-through. After lying to Emily about the outcome of the interview, she and Cale join a tour of the White House.

Meanwhile, a bomb is detonated at the center of the U.S. Capitol building, resulting in a collapse of the rotunda. Raphelson, who was in the Capitol, remains unharmed and is taken to an underground command center with Finnerty while Vice President Alvin Hammond is taken aboard Air Force One. The White House is put on lockdown separating Cale from Emily (who had left the tour group to use the restroom). Meanwhile, disguised mercenaries led by Emil Stenz, start killing off most of the Secret Service and take the tour group hostage, but Cale manages to take a gun from a nearby dead Secret Service member and escapes a mercenary named Killick to go find his daughter. Following protocol, retiring Head of the Presidential Detail Martin Walker escorts Sawyer and his detail to the Presidential Emergency Operations Center. Once Sawyer gains access, Walker kills Sawyer's detail, revealing himself to be the real leader and his desire for revenge over his son who was killed in a botched black ops mission. Cale, who fails to find Emily, kills a mercenary and takes his gun and radio. Overhearing the radio, Cale locates and rescues President Sawyer.

Walker and Stenz bring in Skip Tyler to hack into the defense system, but they still require Sawyer to activate the nuclear football. They locate the remaining presidential line of succession, kill the Secretary of Defense, and place rest of the line of succession with the hostages. Emily, while hiding, records a video of the mercenaries and uploads it to YouTube before eventually being captured. Walker demands $400 million from the Federal Reserve as ransom for the hostages. Cale and Sawyer manage to reach out to command which tells Cale to get Sawyer out through underground tunnels. At the command center, Finnerty uses Emily's video to discover the mercenaries' identities, discovering that they used to work for various government agencies and radical political groups. They also discover that Walker has an inoperable tumor, suggesting his involvement to be a suicide mission and that the attack is not for ransom. Cale and Sawyer find the tunnel gate rigged with an explosive and are forced to escape with a presidential limousine. After giving chase with Stenz on the White House lawn, Cale and Sawyer are flipped into the White House pool after Cale gets distracted by Killick holding Emily at gunpoint. A gunfight erupts which results in an explosion that leaves Sawyer and Cale presumed dead. Hammond is then sworn in as acting President.

When Cale and Sawyer reveal they are still alive, they learn Hammond has ordered an aerial incursion to take back the White House. Knowing the mercenaries have Javelin surface-to-air missiles, Cale tries but fails to stop the mercenaries from shooting down the helicopters. Cale gets into a fight with Stenz and ends up dropping his White House passes for himself and Emily while escaping. Having already learned of Emily from the video, Stenz, knowing that she is Cale's daughter, takes her to Walker in the Oval Office. Meanwhile, Tyler finishes the upload to NORAD and launches a missile at Air Force One, killing everyone on board including Hammond. Raphelson is then sworn in as acting President and reluctantly orders an air strike on the White House, which Cale is informed of.

Walker tells Cale over the White House intercom to surrender Sawyer or he will kill Emily. Sawyer ultimately surrenders himself to save Emily, knowing Cale could still save them if he was free. However, he refuses to activate the football. When Walker threatens to kill Emily again, the alarms and sprinklers are set off by Cale setting various rooms on fire. Tyler tries to escape by deactivating the bomb on the tunnel gate, but discovers that it has been tampered with so it goes off rather than disarm when he leaves. Killick finds Cale and tries to kill him, but is ambushed by Donnie the tour guide, bludgeoning Killick to death with a bronze clock. After freeing the hostages and entrusting Donnie to get them out safely, Cale is confronted by Stenz, who Cale kills with a grenade belt. Sawyer attacks a distracted Walker, who ultimately gains the upper hand and uses him to activate the football before supposedly shooting him dead. Using updated launch codes received by an anonymous source, Walker targets various cities in Iran, but before he initiates the launch, Cale crashes into the office in a presidential escort vehicle and kills Walker with a minigun at the last second. When Emily is told of the air strike, she takes a presidential flag and waves it on the front lawn to get the fighters to call off the attack, which they eventually do. Sawyer is revealed to be alive as the bullet was stopped by a pocket watch handed down to him from Abraham Lincoln. Finnerty calls them to reveal that the mercenaries were not called in by Walker and that there is another mastermind behind the attack. Cale realizes who it is and asks Sawyer for his help in exposing the traitor.

When Finnerty arrives at the White House with Raphelson, Cale tells them Sawyer was killed. Raphelson then orders troops to be placed back into the Middle East, which would go against Sawyer's peace treaty. Cale reveals Raphelson had orchestrated the attack because of Raphelson's disagreement with Sawyer's treaty and proves it by having Finnerty call the call-back number on the pager. Sawyer then reveals himself and has Raphelson taken into custody, treating his taking of the Presidency as a coup d'état. Sawyer officially employs Cale into the Secret Service and takes him and Emily on a personalized aerial tour of Washington, D.C. on his way to the hospital. As a result of the events, the leaders of Russia, China, Israel, France and Iran agree to Sawyer's peace treaty, allowing him to bring the peace he wanted.

CreditsEdit

CastEdit


AppearancesEdit

By type 
Characters Creatures Events Locations
Organizations and titles Sentient species Vehicles and vessels Weapons and technology Miscellanea

Characters

Events

Locations

Organizations and titles

Vehicles and vessels

Weapons and technology

ProductionEdit

White House Down teaser poster 7

White House Down is directed by Roland Emmerich and based on a screenplay by James Vanderbilt, who is also one of the film's producers. Sony Pictures purchased Vanderbilt's spec script in March 2012 for $3 million, in what The Hollywood Reporter called "one of the biggest spec sales in quite a while". The journal said the script was similar "tonally and thematically" to the films Die Hard and Air Force One. In the following April, Sony hired Roland Emmerich as director. Emmerich began filming in July 2012 at the La Cité Du Cinéma in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Cinematographer Anna Foerster shot the film with Arri Alexa Plus digital cameras.

In 2012, Sony competed with Millennium Films, who were producing Olympus Has Fallen (also about a takeover of the White House) to complete casting and to begin filming.

ReleaseEdit

White House Down was originally scheduled for a November 2, 2013 release, but was moved up to a June 28, 2013 release.

Home MediaEdit

White House Down was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on November 5, 2013.

ReceptionEdit

Critical ResponseEdit

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White House Down has received mixed to positive reviews from film critics. The film has a 50% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 155 reviews, three points higher than its competitor, Olympus Has Fallen. The site's consensus is: "White House Down benefits from Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx's sharp comedic chemistry, but director Roland Emmerich smothers it with narrative clichés and relentless, choppily edited action." At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 52 based on 39 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Many people claim that White House Down, though less serious than Olympus Has Fallen, is more accurate with nuclear weapons and has a better script.

Some critics feel that WHD's lighter, character and action driven storyline worked better than OHF's darker, dialogue and politic driven storyline. Roth Cornet of IGN gives it a 6.5/10, concluding: "White House Down is a pretty silly rehashing of previously tread action movie territory, but if you're willing to laugh along with (or even at) it, it can be a highly entertaining experience."

Many critics have noted similarities between the fun suspense-oriented Die Hard and the darker, more politically-oriented Air Force One, although most focused on how Die Hard inspired White House Down. There are numerous homages to Die Hard in the film, a few being rocky relations with family, being the "reluctant hero", which is the desire to see justice done, desire for safety of others, issues with authority and even down to the undershirt the two eventually wind up in.

Although most critics could not say the film was good, most felt it was an improvement over Emmerich's 2012 and also noted that if you could suspend your disbelief, the film could be entertaining, since it wasn't supposed to be entirely serious. Most view White House Down as an above-average popcorn movie, with a structured story, good script, likable characters, memorable villains and good pacing. Most agree that the film isn't necessarily smart, but it also isn't stupid, so it doesn't try to be too serious or insult the audience.

Box officeEdit

At the first weekend in the U.S., the film disappointed and came in at #4 at the box-office. It earned $24.9 million, slightly ahead of Man of Steel, third weekend revenue of $20.7 million. and was less than March's similarly themed Olympus Has Fallen ($30.4 M). The film grossed $73,103,784 in the United States, plus $132,262,953 internationally for a combined gross of $205,366,737.

In October 2013, Sony announced it lost $197 million for June, July, and August 2013, and largely blamed "the box office flop of the movie White House Down as a key reason for the weakness".

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