Gary King (Simon Pegg) is an immature 40-year-old whos dying to take another stab at an epic pub-crawl that he last attempted 20 years earlier. He drags his reluctant buddies back to their hometown and sets out for a night of heavy drinking. As they make their way toward their ultimate destination the fabled Worlds End pub Gary and his friends attempt to reconcile the past and present. However, the real struggle is for the future when their journey turns into a battle for mankind.
The Worlds End is a 2013 science fiction comedy directed by Edgar Wright, written by Wright and Simon Pegg, and starring Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Rosamund Pike and Eddie Marsan. The film follows a group of friends who discover an alien invasion during an epic pub crawl in their home town. Wright has described the film as "social science fiction" in the tradition of John Wyndham and Samuel Youd (John Christopher). It is the third film in the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, following Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007). The film was produced by Relativity Media, StudioCanal, Big Talk Productions, and Working Title Films.
Five friends who reunite in an attempt to top their epic pub crawl from 20 years earlier unwittingly become humankind's only hope for survival.
Gary King (Simon Pegg), a middle-aged alcoholic, tracks down his estranged schoolfriends and persuades them to complete "the Golden Mile", a pub crawl encompassing the 12 pubs of their hometown of Newton Haven. The group attempted the crawl as teenagers, but failed to reach the final pub, The Worlds End.
Gary arrives in Newton Haven with friends Peter (Eddie Marsan), Oliver (Martin Freeman), Steven (Paddy Considine), and Andy (Nick Frost). The group is briefly joined for a drink by Olivers sister Sam (Rosamund Pike), whose affections Gary and Steven fought over in school. In the toilets of the fourth pub, Gary picks a fight with a teenager and knocks his head off, exposing him as an alien android. Garys friends join him and fight more androids, whom they refer to as "blanks".
Several pubs later, the group runs into Sam again. After Gary saves her from twin androids impersonating her friends, she is convinced of the androids invasion. At The Mermaid, androids impersonating attractive girls from their youth attempt to seduce the men. At the next pub, Guy Shepherd (Pierce Brosnan), their old schoolteacher, encourages them to accept their fate and be replaced by androids. Andy realises that Oliver has been replaced with an android. Another fight breaks out and the group scatters.
Once reunited, the four remaining friends accuse each other of having been replaced by androids, but prove that they are human. The androids close in on the group and capture Peter, but Gary is determined to finish the pub crawl. After having a drink at the other two pubs along the way, he runs towards the final pub, the Worlds End. Steven is overwhelmed by the androids and Andy chases Gary through the streets.
At the Worlds End, Andy confronts Gary. In the quarrel, Andy realises that Gary attempted suicide in the years since school. As he tries to stop Gary from drawing his final pint, they discover a hidden chamber and are reunited with Steven. A disembodied alien entity, the Network (Bill Nighy), reveals that the limited android invasion has been responsible for all of humanitys advances in telecommunications in recent decades, bringing humanity closer together as a first step to joining the galaxys community of planets. The Network offers the men the chance to contribute to Earth joining the galactic community, even offering them eternal youth by becoming androids, but they refuse. Exasperated, the Network abandons the invasion after Gary manages to prove that the Network had to replace nearly all of the citizens in the town to make it acceptable enough for its standards. Sam arrives just in time to drive the group out of Newton Haven as it self-destructs.
Some time later, Andy recounts this story around a campfire in the ruins of London. The destruction of Newton Haven triggered a worldwide chain reaction that wiped out modern technology and set humanity back to the Dark Ages. The remaining androids have reactivated and are mistrusted by surviving humans. Andys marriage has recovered, Steven is in a relationship with Sam, and android versions of Peter and Oliver have returned to a semblance of their former lives. In the ruins of Newton Haven, the now-sober Gary enters a pub with the younger android versions of his friends and orders five glasses of water. When the bartender refuses to serve androids, Gary draws a sword and leads his android friends into a brawl.
The Worlds End began as a screenplay titled Crawl about a group of teenagers on a pub crawl; it was written by Edgar Wright at the age of 21. He realised the idea could work with adult characters to capture "the bittersweet feeling of returning to your home town and feeling like a stranger". Wright said he wanted to satirise the "strange homogeneous branding that becomes like a virus", explaining: "This doesnt just extend to pubs, its the same with cafes and restaurants. If you live in a small town and you move to London, which I did when I was 20, then when you go back out into the other small towns in England you go oh my god, its all the same! Its like Bodysnatchers: literally our towns are being changed to death."
In an interview for Entertainment Weekly, Pegg told Clark Collis, "People think we choose the genre first every time, and its not true. We find the stories first. The notion of alienation from your hometown taken to its literal conclusion was how we got to science fiction."
After the story was complete, Wright and Pegg examined a list of real pub names and "tried to make them like tarot cards" to foreshadow the events of the story. Wright explained: "So we said, OK this ones the Famous Cock, because this is where Gary is trying to puff up his own importance. ... We did go through work out in each one how the pub sign was going to relate."
Principal photography for The Worlds End began on 28 September 2012. Filming took place in Hertfordshire, at Elstree Studios, Letchworth Garden City, and Welwyn Garden City. Part of the film was also shot at High Wycombe railway station, Buckinghamshire.
All twelve pubs in the film use identical signage on menus and walls, reflecting what Wright called "that fake hand-written chalk" common to modern British pubs. The exteriors of the real pubs were shot at locations in Welwyn Garden City and Letchworth Garden City, with altered signage. Letchworth Garden City railway station got a makeover as the "Hole in the Wall". Stunts were coordinated by Brad Allen of martial arts film director Jackie Chans team. Wright said: "In Drunken Master, Jackie Chan has to get drunk to fight, but this is more the idea of Dutch courage. You know, when youre kind of drunk and you think ah, I can climb up that scaffolding! Or just that youre impervious to pain. One of the things we talked about is this idea that [the characters] become better fighters the more oiled they get."
The Broadway Cinema, Letchworth, a renovated independent cinema built in a quintessentially Art Deco style in the 1930s, was used to portray the Mermaid pub. This cinema was also the first outside London to play the film, with a special introduction by Pegg thanking the residents of Letchworth for their help during its making; over 800 viewers watched the film at the cinema on its opening night.
The film uses what the New York Post???s Kyle Smith called "a brilliant Madchester soundtrack", alternative rock and pop music from the time of the characters adolescence. Wright explained: "A lot of those songs are ones that really hit me and Simon hard when we were that age... [Gary] is still living by those rules. Its like he decided to take Loaded and Im Free to heart and thinks the partys never going to end."
The soundtrack for the film was released on 5 August 2013 in the UK and 20 August 2013 in the United States, with the films score, composed by Steven Price, released on the same day.
The only songs featured in the film that did not make it onto the soundtrack are "The Only One I Know", "Summers Magic", and "The Only Rhyme That Bites", by The Charlatans, Mark Summers, and 808 State respectively.
In addition to songs featured in the movie, the album also features dialogue snippets. The track list for the soundtrack is as follows:
- "Loaded" (single edit) - Primal Scream (4:21)
- "Theres No Other Way" - Blur (3:19)
- Dialogue: "I Put This On a Tape for You" - Simon Pegg and Paddy Considine (0:09)
- "Im Free" - The Soup Dragons (3:50)
- "Step On" - Happy Mondays (5:14) [Deluxe version bonus track]
- Dialogue: "Was The Music Too Loud?" - Steve Oram and Simon Pegg (0:04) [Deluxe version bonus track]
- "So Young" - Suede (3:37)
- "Old Red Eyes Is Back" - The Beautiful South (3:32) [Deluxe version bonus track]
- Dialogue: "A Humble Taproom" - Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (0:15) [Deluxe version bonus track]
- "Come Home" (Flood mix) - James (3:53) [Deluxe version bonus track]
- "Do You Remember the First Time?" - Pulp (4:22)
- Dialogue: "Welcome" - Simon Pegg (0:04)
- "What You Do to Me" - Teenage Fanclub (1:57)
- "Fools Gold" (single edit) - The Stone Roses (4:15)
- "Get a Life" - Soul II Soul (3:36)
- Dialogue: "We Have Changed" - Nick Frost (0:07)
- "This Is How It Feels" - Inspiral Carpets (3:10) [Deluxe version bonus track]
- "Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)" - The Doors (3:16)
- "Wear Your Love Like Heaven" - Definition of Sound (3:43)
- Dialogue: "This Is What the Kids Want" - Simon Pegg and Martin Freeman (0:07)
- "Step Back in Time" - Kylie Minogue (3:04) [Deluxe version bonus track]
- "Join Our Club" - Saint Etienne (3:15)
- "Heres Where the Story Ends" - The Sundays (3:52)
- Dialogue: "I Hate This Town" - Nick Frost (0:04)
- "20 Seconds to Comply" (Worlds End Bomb Squad mix re-edit) - Silver Bullet (4:35)
- "This Corrosion" (single edit) - The Sisters of Mercy (4:21)
- "Happy Hour" - The Housemartins (2:21)
- Dialogue: "Lets Boo Boo" - Simon Pegg and Paddy Considine (0:24)
The Worlds End premiered on 10 July 2013 at Leicester Square in London and was released on 19 July 2013 in the United Kingdom. It was released in the United States on 23 August 2013.
The Worlds End earned £2,122,288 ($3,242,064 USD) during its UK opening weekend, losing the top spot to Monsters University. Its weekend grosses were higher than Shaun of the Dead???s £1.6 million but lower than Hot Fuzz???s £5.4 million.
In the United States, the movie was released on 23 August and earned $3.5 million on its opening day, beating out The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones and Youre Next. The Worlds End also had the highest per-theater average out of all films in theaters throughout the country on its opening day. On its opening weekend, the film landed in fourth place with $8,790,237, behind Lee Daniels The Butler, Were the Millers, and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. This exceeded box office expectations ranging from $7 million to $8.5 million, and The Worlds Ends opening weekend earned the most out of all films in the Cornetto Trilogy.
The Worlds End received critical acclaim. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported an 89% approval rating with a weighted average score of 7.4/10 based on 189 reviews. The websites consensus reads, "Madcap and heartfelt, Edgar Wrights apocalypse comedy The Worlds End benefits from the typically hilarious Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, with a plethora of supporting players." The film also holds a Metacritic score of 81 out of 100, indicating "universal acclaim", based on 45 collected reviews.
Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B+, praising it as "hilarious" and the "best" collaboration of Wright, Pegg and Frost, saying that "these pint-swilling Peter Pans also know how to work the heart and the brain for belly laughs... The finale is a little too shaggy and silly. But what do you expect after a dozen beers?" Mark Dinning of Empire magazine gave the film four stars out of five, writing: "Bravely refusing to rigidly adhere to a formula that has been so successful, Wright, Pegg and Frosts Cornetto Trilogy closer has tonal shifts you wont expect, but the same beating heart youve been craving." Movie blog eatpraymedia gave the film four and a half stars, calling it "...the perfect antidote to big budget movie making." Henry Barnes of The Guardian gave the film four stars out of five, writing: "With this final film theyve slowed down a bit, grown up a lot. And saved the richest bite until last."
The Worlds End and Shaun of the Dead are part of the same movie series. The Worlds End and Hot Fuzz are part of the same movie series. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost appear in The Worlds End and Paul. Martin Freeman appears in The Worlds End and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Edgar Wright directed The Worlds End and was an executive producer for Attack the Block.
The Worlds End received two Critics Choice Movie Awards nominations, for Best Actor in a Comedy (for Simon Pegg) and for Best Comedy, but lost to The Wolf of Wall Street and American Hustle respectively.
The movie won Best British Film at the 19th Empire Awards held in London in March 2014.