Abrams Hires Writer For ‘Earthquake’ Reboot

A JJ Abrams project that had seemed dormant is now getting more active. A new report says that the Star Trek producer/director is moving ahead on a reboot of Universal’s 1974 disaster movie Earthquke. Abrams has now hired a writer for project. More details below.



Abrams hires writer for ‘Earthquake’ reboot

Back in 2008 we reported that JJ Abrams and his Bad Robot production company were working on a project with Universal to reboot the 1974 disaster movie Earthquake. This would be unusual for Abrams who has a deal with Paramount Pictures, however this film seems to be an exception. Nothing had been reported on this project since the summer of 2008 (and JJ has been busy since then), but now Deadline is reporting the project is back and Abrams has tapped a new writer, bringing in Lance Black (Milk).

Abrams and fellow Star Trek producer Bryan Burk are set as producers of the film. No director has been announced. The film is expected to be a new story and not a remake of the original Earthquake (see original trailer below).

New Olympic Revolution Promo

Speaking of Abrams and disaster-related projects. NBC is airing a new promo for Abrams new show Revolution, set after the world has lost all power. The new promo is running during the networks Olympic coverage and has a bit of an Olympic theme.


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Yay. More mass CGI and 3D effects to look forward too.

Will it be in SENSURROUND?

Watch, just like Titanic, I bet the story revolves around star-struck lovers who are right at the epicentre of the quake. One will die, probably sacrificing themself for the other, at the end of the movie.

All in an attempt to have the audience “relate” to the characters via a tragic love story.


YES!! Sensuround with new and improved shaky seats!!

Those were the days Thorny!!

Wow. Weird timing since my wife was just saying “I can’t believe we watched that “Earthquake” movie in downtown San Francisco” during a vacation to California way back then …


Why is it a reBOOT? IIRC Earthquake was not a series. How is a reboot different from a remake?

Oh man, JJ is going to shaky cam every shot in this with his special tapping technique.

Seeing Earthquake in SENSURROUND was awesome! I also saw Battlestar Galactica in SENSURROUND in the theater.

I always thought the ’80s Steven Spielberg was Mr. Abrams’ role model, but it seems obvious now that what he really aspires to be is a 21st century Irwin Allen, only with a little more conceptual and a lot more technical sophistication in the product he produces. Which explains quite a lot, actually.

A remake would use the same characters and story, a reboot is taking the concept of a movie about an Earthqauke called “Earthquake” and telling a new story. Maybe there is a better term but it isn’t a remake, just a new movie with the same name and same premise from the same studio. I bet it is also set in California too.

Ummm…Why all the remakes? Are there NO original ideas left in this world?

Never heard of it.

@9. No offense, but I loved most of the Irwin Allen movies.

I’d like to see a Damnation Alley remake, and a remake of Van Dame’s underated Cyborg.

Can it even count as a reboot or remake when the story is literally just “HOLY HELL!! IT’S AN EARTHQUAKE!!!” That’s barely a redo, it’s just a name for “STUFF WILL SHAKE!”

WE OPEN with a wide shot of Downtown L.A.

ZOOM IN to the top of the Irwin Allen Building, where a high-powered business meeting is taking place.

A construction company executive is saying, “My new condo complexes are 100% fireproof! People can sleep assured that NOTHING will ever happen to them there!”

…and you can write the rest.


Damnation Alley! Yes, I caught that late at night a few years ago. Read somewhere it was meant to be Fox’s big movie that year. They had little faith in another movie of theirs… something called Star Wars.

@16. Dude, wrong movie — you are talking about Towering Inferno — another IA classic!

“Earthquake” oh its just JJ taping the camera again, hope that JJ Abrams know that no lens flares belong in a disaster movie.

11Ummm…Why all the remakes? Are there NO original ideas left in this world?

no dont think their is much any thing left , I think almost every possable idea has been made into a movie in holly wood.. i love the origonal films the best. it seems like when you remake a movie or reboot a franshise it takes out the surprise-the fun the adventure of going to see the remake movie or rebooted franshise.

you say like ok , they did this different that did that different you compare the remake movie or rebooted show or movie to the origonal one .

they get soo old & boaring after a while. we need writers with imagnations with something new , fresh some thing we can look forward to go to the movies to see ensted of the remakes & reboots.

So we won’t have VIctoria Principal and her beautiful t-shirt?



The sad thing is that there are LOTS of great novels and other stories that have yet to be adapted to film. Not just sci-fi and fantasy but every genre (and others that simply defy categorization).

Hollywood’s remake industry is now somewhere around 40% of the overall movie output.

Just to clear up the record, “Earthquake” *wasn’t* an Irwin Allen production.

Earthquake was Universal Studios and Irwin Allen was headquartered at 20th Century Fox. “The Towering Inferno” was a unique production in which two studios, 20th and Warner Bros., cooperated by merging two very similar properties (“The Inferno” and “The Glass Tower”).

If JJ wants to do The Towering Inferno, without the royalties, he can just base it on this:

BTW, the now-defunct “Los Angeles Herald Examiner” ran side by side pictures of this real-life fire and “The Towering Inferno” a day or so later, showing that Irwin Allen pretty much got it right! (Within the limits of pyrotechnics of the day).

Note to Mr. Abrams: If you ARE remaking “Earthquake”, you MUST keep in the “magic magnetic cows”!

Whatever happened to Brad Bird’s movie about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire? That would seem like a better idea for a movie than yet another modern-day Earthquake movie.

21. Unfortunately, too many good novels just don’t work as movies. Hollywood does try but for every “Hunger Games” hit there are a dozen misses… the Janet Evanovich novels are very popular, but “One for the Money” was a bomb (it really should have been the pilot for a TV show). So was Pittacus Lore’s “I am Number Four”. Michael Connelly’s Mickey Haller novels are popular, but the Matthew McCaunaghey movie “The Lincoln Lawyer” was only a modest hit. Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels are being made into a movie starring Tom Cruise, who bears absolutely no resemblance to the Jack Reacher described in the novels. Now Peter Jackson is turning the 300-page “The Hobbit” into not one, not two, but three (count ’em) movies, the same as the 1,200 page “Lord of the Rings”. Clearly, these movies are going to stray a long way from the book.

If the cows don’t remain stationery while the truck plunges off the overpass, I will demand my money back. Synchronized cow plunging is as iconic in Earthquake as Walter Matthau’s drunken pimp character! Canon must be observed.

(Dang, Captain Dunsel, I just saw you beat me to it… to the Cowpunch! Ha!)

I haven’t seen “The Towering Inferno” for a few years now. I’ll have to rewatch it one of these days.

But I doubt you will see a remake of that movie as it would touch a nerve with many Americans who will link it with the burning Twin Towers of New York on 9/11.

And if a cataclysmic earthquake happens in the U.S within the next year or so, J.J Abrams’ film will get scrapped. If a huge earthquake occurs somewhere else, it will merely be postponed a couple of months.


Good points, Thorny. But I’m okay with screenwriters altering a novel’s story in order to fit the medium of film. As long as it stays within the overall theme and tone of the book, it CAN be done and done well. Look at Peter Benchley’s Jaws—a so-so book with too many subplots and an anticlimactic ending turned into a great movie with, literally, an explosive ending. And then there’s James Ellroy’s LA Confidential—an okay book with maybe three or four detective movies in it, all condensed and reshaped into one Oscar nominated movie.

Or how about To Have and Have Not—a movie made on a challenge that Hemingway’s worst story could be made into a great adaptation. And it worked (though the movie has little to do with the original story). But at least the title is the same. ;)

As long as its just using the title thats fine, there have been many EARTHQUAKE movies over the years.

EARTHQUAKE IS one of my favorite films, My ticket from its world premiere is one of my prized collectibles.

J.J. I have an idea how about instead of calling it EARTHQUAKE, call it DISASTER!, then you can include a Quake and A submarine disaster
my fellow former Universal Studios Florida/EARTHQUAKE spielers will know what i mean.
(not to mention Universal Florida guests)

MJ, EARTHQUAKE was not an Irwin Allen Production it was directed Produced by Mark Robson, and written by Mario Puzo and George Fox.

One of my all time favorite movies up there with JAWS, greatest pleasure of my life was the day i was spieling(performing) in scene 2 at QUAKE at Universal Florida , Heston himself was there in crowd.

oh and you do realize that EARTHQUAKES, cause fires also right?
Just saying.


He should do Land of the Giants.

they should keep the iconic EARTHQUAKE logo font thing. always keep the familiar logo so people wont get scared of anything original!

next reboot Towering Inferno as well. with William Shatner (in the McQueen role) and Leonard Nimoy (in the Paul Newman role),

then reboot Dantes Peak next with Daniel Craig and Lena Headey.

Another one to ignore. I’ll watch it in pieces on Encore about two years from now, on a hangover day.

#32, Why, You ask? $$$, no other reason.

Well crud, why don’t they just do a Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea reboot then?

@36 Now that you mention it, I’m surprised that hasn’t been done yet!

Reboot MIDWAY too, also in Sensurround!!!!! C’mon JJ!!

Speaking of Sensurround, does anybody remember seeing the original Battlestar Galactica in theatres, also in Sensurround?

Gawd, I’m getting old!

Sounds boring.

EARTHQUAKE was, for me personally, kind of a watershed film. After STAR TREK and THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE, this was the film I awaited for over a year when I first heard of its production in back in 1972. By the time it came out, I was amped as hell. Saw it the first time at the El Capitan Theater, in SENSURROUND.

This was the first movie that prompted me to call the studios at age 16 and start asking around about for this film was made.

I befriended a man named Alexander Golitzen, who was Art Director at Universal, and he offered to give me the remains of the overpass miniature that fell on the cattle truck (it was modelled after the 134 – to – 2 Freeway flyover above Harvey Drive in Glendale) until someone at the studio took it for a tour display.

This is the film that made me want to become a VFX artist, to film miniatures and matte paintings. It was one of the first press kits I ever collected; that kit had dozens of 8X10 glossies inside, all different and valuable.

I tried to make my own Super-8 earthquake movie, and did some cool effects on it, too.

Thanks to EARTHQUAKE, and STAR TREK, STAR WARS, etc., I now handle Visual Effects on STAR TREK: PHASE II, and numerous other films and videos.

J.J. Abrams, if you read this, I’d seriously LOVE to handle matte shots or VFX on this new film. I’ve wanted to bring-down a city in an earthquake film ever since Sensurround shook me into astonishment back in 1974.
It would be a nice way to bring my little career in VFX full-circle.

JJ should do a reboot of Escape From New York. Could be very cool!

JJ needs to be careful, he’s likely to get pidgenholed into these types of remake/reboot projects. I liked Ace Ventura, Pet Detective, but Jim Carry’s routine got old, real fast. You are in trouble when executives decide “we want to remake (insert name of show/movie here), get JJ on the phone. I liked most of Irwin Allens disaster flicks, but I won’t pay to see it more then once.

20 It will take an awful lot to fill Victoria Principal’s… role.

@31 “MJ, EARTHQUAKE was not an Irwin Allen Production it was directed Produced by Mark Robson, and written by Mario Puzo and George Fox.”

I never said it was. I was responding to Jeff in @16 who made a reference to an Irwin Allen building on fire — hence I pointed out to him that that was another Irwin Allen classic — Towering Inferno.

When the earthquake hits and the power transformers spark, imagine how terrific the lens flares will look!

hmmm jj needs to update the sensurround gimmick…lensflaressurround!
jj needs to be careful….dont need a michael bay junior…or even e jr roland emmerich—-after 2012 movie cant think of a bigger disaster movie to make now sheesh…fyi besides earthquake sensurroud was used in the movies rollercoaster, and yes battlestar galactica and midway….our local theatre actually had cracks in the ceiling n wall thanx to sensurround wasnt the only theatre to have that problem too…but i luv movie gimmicks like that…

Easy Triviatime—what actor in Earthquake has a failed star trek connection? i know everyone will know this…

@46 Geneviève Bujold ! That took me a few seconds to figure out what you meant by a “failed” connection.

@45 I thought it was really cool in “Midway” when the big main battleship guns fired in Sensurround! And yes, I remember dust falling from the theater ceiling.

Just got back from watching Total Recall, I have to ask Did Lin Wiesmen study at the JJ Abrams school of cinematic Lens flair. geesh enough with futuristic sci fi films, having lens flair all over the place.

haha 47 very good…yah it was a failed trek connection….
yes 48 i luved sensurround in all the movies….even tho it never was good for the buildings..