Despite the previous film being originally announced as the final of the franchise, due to its financial success, development of Final Destination 5 begun in 2010. Filming took place in Vancouver, as with the first three installments. It was theatrically released in August 12, 2011, and on DVD on December 27, 2011, which includes deleted scenes, documentaries and a parody music video by the cast.
Sam Lawton is on his way to a company retreat with his colleagues. While their bus crosses the North Bay Bridge, Sam has a premonition that the bridge will collapse, killing everyone on it, except for his ex-girlfriend Molly Harper, who he manages to get across the bridge safely. In a panic, he persuades several people to leave the bridge before it collapses, including Molly; his friends Nathan Sears and Peter Friedkin; Peter's girlfriend Candice Hooper; his boss Dennis Lapman; and co-workers Olivia Castle and Isaac Palmer. FBI agent Jim Block does not believe that Sam is responsible for the bridge collapse, but promises to keep his eye on him. At the memorial service, coroner William Bludworth mysteriously tells the survivors that "Death doesn't like to be cheated", and warns them to be careful. Believing this to be nonsense, they ignore his warnings and leave.
Later, Candice goes to gymnastics practice with Peter at night, where an unseen entity begins to shadow her. A chain reaction from an unsafe air conditioning machine, a screw falling onto the balance beam, another girl, a basket of chalk dust and a fan causes Candice to fly off the uneven bars, and she snaps her spine from landing on her neck, leaving Peter devastated. The next day, Isaac is killed when his head is crushed by a falling Buddha statue during an acupuncture session at a Chinese spa. Bludworth, who has been present for both deaths, tells the remaining survivors that if they wish to cheat Death, they must kill someone who was never meant to die on the bridge, and thereby claim their remaining lifespan. On the same day, Olivia goes to an eye surgery clinic to treat her myopic vision. While the eye doctor is out looking for files the laser malfunctions, searing her eye and hand. She manages to free herself as Sam and Molly arrive to save her, but trips and falls out of the window onto a car below. Later, Sam realizes that the survivors are dying in the order they were meant to die on the bridge; they realize that Nathan is next on Death's list.
Meanwhile, Nathan, who has returned to the factory, accidentally kills his co-worker, Roy Carson, during an argument by pushing him in front of a lifting hook, which impales him through the chin. Nathan relays this information to the remaining survivors, who realize he claimed Roy's remaining lifespan by killing him and therefore must be safe. When Dennis arrives to question Nathan about the incident a wrench launched by a belt sander hits him in the face, killing him.
That evening, Sam works at a restaurant, and after work asks his supervisor to reserve the restaurant for a date with Molly. Peter, who has become unstable after Candice's death, interrupts the date to tell them that he has decided to kill Molly to take her lifespan. After Peter draws a gun, Sam and Molly both escape to the restaurant's kitchen. Agent Block overhears the shots from outside, but when he enters the restaurant he is shot dead by Peter. Believing that he is now safe from Death, Peter decides to kill both Molly and Sam to remove any witnesses. Sam and Peter fight and Peter knocks out Sam, but just as Peter is about to stab Molly with a kitchen knife, Sam awakens and fatally stabs him in the back with a large skewer. Sam believes he has claimed Block's life.
Two weeks later, Sam and Molly board a Volee Airlines flight to Paris. As they take their seats a fight breaks out between two passengers (Alex Browning and Carter Horton), who are removed from the plane, along with several others. Upon takeoff, Sam overhears that one of the passengers had a vision of the plane's destruction, revealing that the plane he and Molly are on is Flight 180, but it is too late to leave; both of them are killed when the plane explodes. At Roy's memorial, Nathan learns that Roy had a brain aneurysm that would have burst "any day now". As Nathan realizes he is still in danger, the landing gear from Flight 180 crashes through the roof and crushes him, setting off the events of the first four films.For more details on the characters, see List of Final Destination characters.
Alan Horn, the head of Warner Bros., confirmed at ShoWest in March 2010 that Final Destination 5 was in works at ShoWest. Producer Craig Perry later added that the film would be shot in 3D. Eric Heisserer was announced as screenwriter in April 2010. The studio initially picked August 26, 2011, as the release date but later changed it to August 12, 2011. In June 2010, New Line Cinema announced that Steven Quale would direct.
According to Heisserer, Final Destination 5 was always meant to be a prequel, set before the first film; the idea having come from franchise producer Craig Perry. Heisserer said that one major problem he encountered while writing the film was coming up with good death sequences, believing that managing to do so in the world of Final Destination is "ridiculously hard". The inspiration for Olivia's death sequence involving LASIK eye surgery after his wife underwent the same type of surgery.
In August 2010, actor and musician Miles Fisher was the first to be cast in the film as Peter Friedkin. Fisher had appeared in numerous short films and in a small role in the comedy film Superhero Movie. Fisher said during an interview that "I've done a little bit of television and a little bit of film, but 3-D is almost an entirely different sport." Three days after Fisher's casting, Arlen Escarpeta was cast in the film as Nathan. Escarpeta explained that "I think what they're going to do really, really well this time around, they're going to go back – the story, the plot, a lot of stuff is really going to matter, I think the last movie it was just death. It was death, death, death, which is fine because that's what people want to see. But this time we're going to give them a little bit of everything – good story, great director – it's going to be good." He appeared in the films American Gun and Friday the 13th. In late August 2010 Nicholas D'Agosto and Ellen Wroe were cast. One day later, Tony Todd, who portrayed William Bludworth from the first two installments joined the film.
On August 30, 2010, David Koechner and P. J. Byrne were announced to have joined the cast. On September 2, Emma Bell was cast as the female lead; Molly. In mid-September both Jacqueline MacInnes Wood and Courtney B. Vance joined the main cast.
Location filming returned to Vancouver, where parts of the first three films were shot. Principal photography took place between September 13 and December 14, 2010. Producers stated that this installment would be darker and more suspenseful in the style of the original film. Final Destination 3 star Chelan Simmons revealed that the opening scene would be filmed on the Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver.
The soundtrack to Final Destination 5 was released physically on August 16, 2011, four days after the release of the film. The soundtrack contains 19 tracks composed by Brian Tyler, music composer of The Final Destination. It is also the second Final Destination soundtrack album to be released. Miles Fisher also released a tie-in video for his single "New Romance" which features the key actors in the film in a Saved by the Bell parody in which most are killed in freak accidents, in keeping with the series.
Commercial songs from the film, but not on the soundtrack"I Will Buy You a New Life" by Everclear
"Successful Leader" by Jeff Tymoschuk
"Ballroom" by Terry Poison
"Dust in the Wind" by Kansas
"Walk Like Water" by Cliff P. deMarks, Jr.
"Me, Myself & I" by Excellence
"The Orbiting Suns" by Jens Gad
"If You Want Blood (You've Got It)" by AC/DC
"Give Me More" by Empyr
"Left for Dead" by Chimaira
"When Darkness Falls" by Killswitch Engage
The album contains 19 cues composed by Brian Tyler, omitting commercially released songs that were featured in the film.
- "Main Title" (3:47)
- "Fates Bridge" (6:31)
- "Repercussions" (4:06)
- "Kill or Be Killed" (4:30)
- "Cheating Death" (2:13)
- "Bludworth" (2:43)
- "Death's Work" (10:12)
- "Olivia" (1:35)
- "Eye Can't See No Good" (4:16)
- "The Gift Certificate" (2:50)
- "Meet the Gang" (1:10)
- "Hook in Mouth" (2:09)
- "Isaac's Got a Point" (2:08)
- "Recognition" (0:59)
- "Mystery" (2:47)
- "Bend Over Backwards" (4:38)
- "The Order of Death" (7:20)
- "Plans Within Plans" (3:45)
- "Infinite Finale" (1:31)
Final Destination 5 ranked #3 at the weekend box office with $18.4 million behind Rise of the Planet of the Apes ($27.5 million), which held the top spot for two weeks, and The Help ($25.5 million). It was also the third biggest Final Destination opening to date behind 2009's The Final Destination ($27.4 million) and 2006's Final Destination 3 ($19.1 million). Final Destination 5 grossed $42,587,643 domestically, and $115,300,000 overseas, for a worldwide total of $157,887,643, becoming the second highest-grossing film in the franchise.
Final Destination 5 was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on December 27, 2011. The Blu-ray Disc comes in two forms: the movie-only edition and the Blu-ray Disc/DVD/UltraViolet edition. A Blu-ray 3D edition was released exclusively through Best Buy. The film was released in the UK on December 26, 2011, however only the Blu-ray Disc special edition contained the 3D cut of the film. An UltraViolet copy was available in all formats.
Before the film appeared in theaters, Fisher released a music video. Starring the main cast of Final Destination 5 and featuring Fisher's original song "New Romance", the video parodied the 1990s sitcom Saved by the Bell and included a clue to the plot of the film. Fisher, a fan of the show, and video director Dave Green watched every episode, and contemporary shows like Boy Meets World and Clarissa Explains It All. "We thought, 'Gosh wouldn’t it be fun and subversive to have Final Destination-type deaths in this safe, [sitcom] world?’" Fisher, who plays a Zack Morris-like character, said. He joked, "I basically have always been looking for a way to dance with Kelly Kapowski my whole life".
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 62% based on 132 reviews, with an average rating of 5.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "It's still only for the gore-thirsty faithful, but Final Destination 5 represents a surprising return to form for the franchise." On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted score, gives the film a score of 50 out of 100, based on 24 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". It is the highest rated film of the franchise on both sites. On CinemaScore, audiences gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
Richard Roeper stated in his review "From the opening credits to the final kill this film displays a great use of 3-D." Todd Gilchrist of Boxoffice Magazine has declared the film in his review for being "the best 3D horror movie ever made." He described Final Destination 5 as "a clean, glossy thriller shot in native 3D (not post-conversion) that maximizes the technology without straining the audience's credulity or their constitutions." He also stated "Calling anything the 'best 3D horror film' has the ring of crowning the world's tallest midget, but Quale uses 3D almost shockingly well." In a review for Toronto.com, Linda Barnard has stated "this could be a case where the 3-D-shot movie is worth the extra few bucks to see".
The visual effects were praised for improving on the weak CGI from the previous installment. Betty Jo Tucker of ReelTalk Movie Reviews said in her review "The film boasts some of the best visual effects ever, especially the bridge-crumbling sequence at the beginning of the film." In his review of Final Destination 5, Roger Ebert said "...the special effects do an excellent job of beheading, incinerating, vivisecting, squishing and so on." "Final Destination 5 contain some of the most fun effects ever seen that purely enhance the thrills and bloody spills, rather than detract from them," stated Lisa Giles-Keddie from uk.real.com.
The death scenes in the film have been praised as being suspenseful, creative, and shocking. Boxoffice Magazine said in praise, "viewers connect to both the relatable pain of everyday injury and the gory gratification of a well-constructed, larger-than-life set piece." Nj.com opined, "Admitted, there is a certain inventiveness to the way director Steven Quale stages the violence." San Francisco Chronicle said that the characters are "killed in gruesome and spectacular ways". The gymnastic set piece has been praised as "anxiety-filled", "a beautiful example of successful comic suspense", "Hitchcockian edge-of-your-seat suspense", and "inventively grotesque". Film.com stated in their review "The subsequent deaths are hit-or-miss, but they all show some creative spark. Quale sets them up like a cross between a joke and a magic trick, carefully establishing crucial details."
The opening bridge collapse has garnered considerable critical acclaim, with many stating it as being on par with the pile-up sequence from Final Destination 2. It has been said to be "one of the single best sequences of any film all year" by Boxoffice Magazine. Uk.real.com stated that the opening bridge collapse sequence is "beautifully directed and choreographed". Eric D. Snider has stated in his review for Film.com that "The opening premonition is nerve-janglingly effective." The New York Post called the bridge collapse sequence "spectacular", and Daily News deemed it "terrifying". USA Today commented on the sequence, saying "The effect is terrific and reminiscent of the bridge destruction from Mission: Impossible III." Betsy Sharkey, a Los Angeles Times film critic stated in her negative review "I will say, the bus, and the bridge it must cross, does make for a pretty incredible wham-bam opening sequence," and further added "The big crumble is a stunner of an opener." In a review for MSN.com, Kat Murphy said "the fifth chapter starts out with a slambang catastrophe", then stated that the bridge collapse is "skillfully orchestrated", and "this sequence is actually enhanced by 3-D: Holes in the disintegrating bridge seem to pull the gaze down – dizzyingly – to the river below, and jagged camera angles on hanging railings and sliding debris muddle our sense of what's up, what's down." The Hollywood Reporter praised "This film's opening sequence is undeniably spectacular." Aaron Hillis from The Village Voice called the bridge collapse "breathtakingly staged". The Advocate stated that "Director Steve Quale and writer Heisserer stage the bridge’s collapse in swift but exacting detail." The Austin Chronicle said the bridge collapse sequence is "spectacularly gruesome".
The Advertising Standards Authority in the UK ruled that the original theatrical poster, which had been used on buses and trains during the summer, "was likely to cause fear and undue distress to children". It ruled that the advert must not appear in the original form again.
Warner Bros. countered by stating that the poster "accurately reflected the content of the film in an appropriate manner without causing excessive fear or distress". They also added that the poster's dark grey and black colours were "unlikely to engage the attention of young children", and that the "surreal" image did not feature people, blood or display any real life violence.
The ASA, which had received 13 complaints, with three stating that their children (aged between 1 and 3) had been upset, ruled "We considered the image was likely to catch the attention of children, especially because it was shown on a poster on the Underground, where it was an untargeted medium. Because very young children might view this ad depicting violence, it was likely to cause fear and undue distress to children."