Why Emmy Rossum’s Poseidon Movie Sank at the Box Office

Movies about massive disasters have always been pretty popular, but in the mid-2000s, the genre was in full swing.

As always, when Hollywood wants to cash in on a trend, they often attempt to remake previously successful films to double-dip on proven popularity.

Such was the case with the 2006 movie Poseidon, a remake of the classic 1972 disaster movie.

Ernest Borgnine, Stella Stevens, Red Buttons, Carol Lynley, and Pamela Sue Martin in the 1972 American disaster film The Poseidon AdventureErnest Borgnine, Stella Stevens, Red Buttons, Carol Lynley, and Pamela Sue Martin in the 1972 American disaster film The Poseidon Adventure (Credit: 20th Century Fox)

As an obvious attempt to replicate the popularity of other boating disaster films like 1997’s romantic adventure film Titanic, Poseidon failed to make a major impact and was lost in the shuffle.

Let’s take a look at this misguided disaster film and examine the plot, performances, and some fun facts you should know!

A Remake of Titanic Proportions

Poseidon might be a remake of an older film, but even that movie was an adaptation of a previously-released story.

Originally published in 1969, The Poseidon Adventure was an adventure novel written by Paul Gallico that detailed the horrifying catastrophe of the fictional ocean cruise-liner, the S.S. Poseidon.

Gene Hackman as Reverend Frank Scott in Ronald Neame's The Poseidon AdventureGene Hackman as Reverend Frank Scott in Ronald Neame’s The Poseidon Adventure (Credit: 20th Century Fox)

This book was eventually adapted into a feature-length film in 1972 under the same title, which saw relative success.

Between its awesome cast, which included multiple award-winning actors and some entertaining drama, the movie was fun enough to become a cult classic.

The 2006 version of the movie, simply called Poseidon, was directed by Wolfgang Petersen, who was previously nominated for two Academy Awards for his 1981 film, Das Boot.

Emmy Rossum and Wolfgang Petersen during the 5th Annual Tribeca Film Festival screening of PoseidonEmmy Rossum and Wolfgang Petersen during the 5th Annual Tribeca Film Festival screening of Poseidon at The Tribeca Performing Arts Center in New York City on May 6, 2006 (Credit: Doug Meszler / WENN)

Writer Mark Protosevich provided a fresh screenplay, while an A-list cast of actors was selected, including Kurt Russell, Richard Dreyfuss, and Emmy Rossum.

The film cost around $160 million to make and was distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.

Wet and Wild Disaster

Poseidon is a straightforward disaster movie that follows a group of survivors attempting to escape a sinking cruise-liner during a New Year’s Eve celebration.

This includes Robert Ramsay (Kurt Russell) and his daughter Jennifer (Emmy Rossum), aging executive Richard (Richard Dreyfuss), the heroic ex-Navy officer Dylan (Josh Lucas), and more.

Mike Vogel as Christian Sanders and Emmy Rossum as Jennifer Ramsey in the 2006 American survival thriller film PoseidonMike Vogel as Christian Sanders and Emmy Rossum as Jennifer Ramsey in the 2006 American survival thriller film Poseidon (Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Although the night starts with music, cheers, and excitement, a rogue wave causes the ship to flip over, leaving thousands of passengers and crew members stuck.

Refusing to let themselves drown, our group of heroes must make their way through the flipped ship, evading obstacles, a rising water level, and all other manners of danger.

The movie features a wide array of actors and actresses and some cameos from popular singers like Fergie. However, our core ensemble cast does most of the heavy lifting, with Kurt Russell, Josh Lucas, and Emmy Rossum rising above the rest of the pack.

Kurt Russell as former New York City Mayor and firefighter Robert Ramsey and Emmy Rossum as his daughter Jennifer in PoseidonKurt Russell as former New York City Mayor and firefighter Robert Ramsey and Emmy Rossum as his daughter Jennifer in Poseidon (Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

As one of the best actors of all time, Kurt Russell effortlessly wades through each scene, delivering a powerful performance as a desperate father who wants to protect his daughter.

To that end, Emmy Rossum does a great job as Jennifer, presenting her character as both an innocent “girl next door”-type with a feisty side.

At the start of the movie, Jennifer shows a strong will and stands up to her father’s overbearing nature, making her more than just a damsel in distress. She’s also not afraid to show off some skin, feeling confident and exuding body positivity.

Kurt Russell with his sons Wyatt Hawn and Boston at the premiere of PoseidonKurt Russell with his sons Wyatt Hawn and Boston at the premiere of Poseidon (Credit: Nikki Nelson / WENN)

While she falls in with the rest of the pack once the action starts ramping up, Emmy Rossum does a great job establishing her character early on, which makes you really want to see her survive until the end.

Overall, Poseidon is a fun disaster movie that features some impressive CGI, unique action set-pieces, and plenty of quality performances.

Clocking in at around an hour and thirty minutes, Poseidon is a quick but enjoyable watch that doesn’t overstay its welcome. While some of the action gets repetitive after a while, most scenes are inventive and exhilarating, keeping you invested.

Emmy Rossum was 19 years old when the American survival thriller film Poseidon was released on May 12, 2006Emmy Rossum was 19 years old when the American survival thriller film Poseidon was released on May 12, 2006 (Credit: R Lawrence/ WENN)

Ultimately, Poseidon earned over $180 million during its theatrical run. However, due to an inflated marketing budget, those earnings weren’t enough to make it a worthwhile investment for the studio.

Fun Facts About Poseidon

1. Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg were both attached to direct the movie at some point in pre-production. However, Michael Bay passed on Poseidon to direct The Island, while Spielberg chose to focus on War of the Worlds instead.

2. Emmy Rossum was not the first choice for the role of Jennifer. Instead, Lindsay Lohan was offered the part first.

This makes Poseidon the second disaster movie Emmy Rossum joined after Lindsay Lohan passed, with 2004’s Day After Tomorrow being the first.

Emmy Rossum got the role of Jennifer Ramsey in Poseidon after Lindsay Lohan turned down the partEmmy Rossum got the role of Jennifer Ramsey in Poseidon after Lindsay Lohan turned down the part (Credit: Tinseltown / Shutterstock)

Born on September 12, 1986, she was just 19 years old when the movie was released on May 12, 2006. She turned 20 on September 12, 2006, and was only 18 when filming took place during the summer of 2005.

3. The majority of scenes that show the entire boat were accomplished using cutting-edge CGI. In the 2010 Guinness Book of World Records, Poseidon earned the bragging rights of having “the most complex CG design in film”.

4. Following Poseidon’s completion, Wolfgang Petersen took a 10-year hiatus from directing movies. He eventually returned in 2016 with the film Vier gegen die Bank (Four Against the Bank).

5. Despite being a box office bomb and a critical failure, Poseidon still earned some award nominations. This included an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects, but it lost to another ocean-based movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.

Emmy Rossum wears her hair back at the launch of the Marimekko For Target lineEmmy Rossum wears her hair back at the launch of the Marimekko For Target line held on April 7, 2016, at The High Line in New York City (Credit: WENN)

In April 2016, Emmy Rossum ditched her usual ethereal-classic style for something outside of her comfort zone — heels with gigantic butterfly wings attached at the back.

The Mystic River actress wore the quirky footwear at the launch of the Marimekko for Target line in Los Angeles.

For a brand as preppy and colorful as Marimekko, it’s a bit weird that Emmy wore all black.

Emmy wears an all-black ensemble to the launch of the Marimekko For Target line, despite Marimekko's brightly-colored trademark designsEmmy wears an all-black ensemble to the launch of the Marimekko For Target line, despite Marimekko’s brightly-colored trademark designs (Credit: Ivan Nikolov / Andres Otero / WENN)

At least her laser-cut button-down shirt and matching skirt were also from a Target line? Both pieces are from the Who What Wear for Target line.

The actress styled her two-piece ensemble with pearl earrings from the Veronika Borchers x Pearl Collective Orion Bar Studs collection.

Emmy’s quirky heels are the “Chiara” sandals from Sophia Webster.

Emmy Rossum's feet in Sophia Webster heelsEmmy Rossum’s feet in Sophia Webster heels (Credit: WENN)

Even if she showed up in an all-black ensemble, Emmy did her part in showing off the Marimekko for Target goods.

Are you feeling adventurous? Try the “Chiara” heels by Sophia Webster at SSENSE, Farfetch, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

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