Jay Baruchel arrives in Los Angeles to visit old friend and fellow Canadian actor Seth Rogen, who invites him to attend a housewarming party hosted by James Franco. Jay is uncomfortable at the crowded party, so Seth accompanies him to a convenience store for cigarettes, but beams of blue light come down and suck numerous people into the sky. Seth and Jay flee back to Franco's house, only to find the party unharmed, until an earthquake strikes and the party goers rush outside. Michael Cera demands to know who stole his cell phone but he gets impaled by a lamppost and a large hole opens in James' yard, swallowing himself, Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, Jason Segel, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Martin Starr. Seth, James, Jonah Hill and Craig Robinson survive and run back inside the house. James' assistant Karen gets accidentally crushed by Paul Rudd. Aziz Ansari grabs Kevin Hart's foot but he gets hit in the face by the other foot, then gets his arm cut off and falls into the sinkhole. Kevin tries to get Aziz's arm off, but he also falls into the sinkhole. Jay tries to help David Krumholtz escape the sinkhole, but he falls into the sinkhole as well. Jay escapes the sinkhole and runs back to the house. After learning the biggest earthquake has struck Los Angeles on the news, the group take inventory of their supplies, set up a ration system, board up the house and await help.
The next morning, Danny McBride, also in the house and unaware of the crisis, wastes much of their food and water. The others tell him of the previous night's events, which he initially does not believe until a man (Brian Huskey) outside is decapitated as they watch. Tensions rise due to various conflicts, including Jay and Seth's growing estrangement, and the others' scepticism of Baruchel's belief that the disaster might be the Apocalypse predicted in the Book of Revelation. Later, Emma Watson, another survivor of the party, returns. However, due to a misunderstanding, she believes the group is planning to rape her and leaves, taking the group's remaining drinks with her. Craig is chosen to travel outside to the basement for water, but finds the door is locked and returns after an encounter with an unknown being.
The experience causes Craig to believe Jay's theory that the Apocalypse has arrived. Jay and Seth reach the basement by digging through the floor and find the water, but Danny ends up wasting most of it out of spite, prompting him to be kicked out of the house. Before he leaves, Danny reveals that Jay was in town two months prior but stayed at a hotel, instead of at Seth's house, because of their strained friendship. Jonah makes a remark that annoys Jay, causing him to punch him and giving him a nasty nosebleed. Later that night, Jonah prays for Jay to die, but is possessed by a demon shortly after. The next day, Jay and Craig go to a neighboring home for supplies, and escape a demonic bull. Meanwhile, Seth and James are attacked by the possessed Jonah. The group subdues Jonah and tie him up, but during an exorcism attempt, Jay and Seth get into a fight and knock a candle over. A fire starts, engulfing Jonah and the house in flames and forcing the others outside.
James suggests taking his car to his home in Malibu, but finds the car guarded by a demon. Craig volunteers to sacrifice himself. The plan succeeds and Craig is raptured into Heaven, leading the others to realize they can be saved if they do a selfless act. They are then captured by cannibals led by Danny and his Gimp Channing Tatum. James volunteers to sacrifice himself to save the others, but taunts Danny and flips him off as he ascends to Heaven, causing his beam to vanish and himself to get eaten alive by Danny and his cannibals. Seth and Jay escape, but they encounter a gigantic satanic being. Jay apologises to Seth for his actions as the being attempts to eat them. A beam strikes Jay, and he begins to ascend while Seth does not. Jay grabs Seth's hand, but Seth's presence prevents him from ascending into Heaven. As a result, Seth lets him go and is saved by another beam, which slices off the being's crotch.
In Heaven, Seth and Jay meet Craig, who tells them that Heaven is a place where any desire comes true. Jay wishes for the Backstreet Boys and the band performs "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)" as everyone dances.
Most of the film's cast portray fictional, exaggerated versions of themselves:Jay Baruchel
Jason Segel (uncredited)
Brian Huskey (headless man)
Rogen and Goldberg told interviewers, "We always wanted to do a movie where people played themselves and something extraordinary happened; the initial version of the film was Seth Rogen and Busta Rhymes were filming a music video and a film respectively, on the Sony lot, and Antmen attacked from the center of the earth." The film is also based on Jay and Seth versus the Apocalypse, a short film created by Goldberg and Jason Stone in 2007.
In an interview with The Guardian, Goldberg commented on influences contributing to the film, "If you drilled down to the core of what I do, it's just ripping off little bits of Charlie Kaufman. Seth and I always loved The Larry Sanders Show too. And the popularity of reality television now also feeds into that idea of whether what we're watching is actually real. We thought working with our friends in that situation would be awesome because they're all comedians willing to take stabs at themselves." The actors play exaggerated versions of themselves, with only James Franco having no objections to doing what the script wanted him to do.
While set in Los Angeles, principal photography was in New Orleans due to financial incentives from that city. Filming rolled from February to early July 2012. Modus FX made 240 visual effects for the film, including natural disasters, set extensions for the house, computer-generated demons, and the Rapture beams. After filming wrapped, Rogen and Goldberg were displeased with their ending; they considered putting Morgan Freeman in Heaven, but he declined. Since "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)" already played in a scene and the directors wanted to close on an over-the-top note, the directors decided to feature the Backstreet Boys in the scene instead.
During production, the film was titled The Apocalypse, later changed to The End of the World. The name changed to This Is the End on December 20, 2012, upon the release of its first trailer and poster. This was done at the request of Rogen's Paul co-star Simon Pegg, who wrote to Rogen in concern that The End of the World was too similar a title to his comedy film The World's End, also released in the summer of 2013 and centered around an apocalypse with an ensemble cast. As The World's End was the name of a key location in that film, Pegg worried he could not change the name of his film.
On April 1, 2013, Sony released an April Fools' Day trailer for Pineapple Express 2, which was in fact a teaser trailer for This Is the End. According to Rogen and Goldberg, however, the homemade Pineapple Express 2 film in This Is the End depicts what they envision for the actual sequel.
This Is the End: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is the soundtrack of the film. It was released on June 11, 2013 by RCA Records.Songs featured in the film, but not in the soundtrack
"Gangnam Style" by Psy
"Rapture" by Blondie
"Hole in the Earth" by Deftones
"Disco 2000" by Pulp
"Spiteful Intervention" by Of Montreal
"Paper Planes" by M.I.A.
"End of the Beginning" and "War Pigs" by Black Sabbath
"The Next Episode" by Dr. Dre.
The score by Henry Jackman, with additional material by Dominic Lewis and Matthew Margeson and conducted by Nick Glennie-Smith, was not officially released on its own, not even as bonus tracks on the CD or digital releases on RCA's album. Despite that, a promotional album for the score does exist, according to Soundtrack.net.
This Is the End grossed $101.5 million in the United States and Canada and $24.6 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $126 million, against a production budget of $32 million. It made a net profit of $50 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues for the film.
The film was released in North America on June 14, 2013, alongside Man of Steel, and was projected to open to around $12 million from 3,055 theaters. The film made $7.8 million on its first day and went on to debut to $20.7 million in its opening weekend (a five-day total of $33 million), finishing second at the box office behind Man of Steel ($116.6 million). In its second weekend it grossed $13.3 million, dropping to 4th.
This Is the End met with positive reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an approval rating of 83% based on 212 reviews, with an average rating of 7.1/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Energetic, self-deprecating performances and enough guffaw-inducing humor make up for the flaws in This Is the End's loosely written script." On Metacritic, the film has an average score of 67 out of 100, based on 41 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". On CinemaScore, audiences gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a letter grade of "A", saying, "You could sit through a year's worth of Hollywood comedies and still not see anything that's genuinely knock-your-socks-off audacious. But This Is the End . . truly is. It's the wildest screen comedy in a long time and also the smartest, the most fearlessly inspired and the snort-out-loud funniest." Brian D. Johnson of Maclean's wrote, "There could be worse ways to experience the apocalypse than with a party of stoned celebrities at James Franco's house. For one thing, his epic art collection can be used to board up the cracking walls against demons and zombies. That's the screwball scenario of This Is the End...The film unfolds as a profanely funny showbiz parody. But with perfect timing, it also sends up a genre that has recently gone viral at the multiplex: the apoca-blockbuster." At the other end of the spectrum, Canada's The Globe and Mail compared the film to the interminable wait for a cancelled bus, giving it one and a half stars out of five. The critic referred to the actors in the film as "the lazy, the privileged and the mirthless".
The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on October 1, 2013. It was the last movie to be officially rented by Blockbuster Video before they went out of business at 11 p.m. on November 9, 2013.
When asked whether a sequel to the film was probable, director and co-writer Evan Goldberg said, "If you ask me, I'd say there's a pretty good chance of a sequel. If you ask Seth Rogen, he'd say no." In June 2013, Goldberg announced ideas for a sequel in which the apocalypse occurs at the premiere of This Is the End. "Seth's a cokehead in this version, Michael Cera is a calm dude with a boyfriend, Rihanna and The Backstreet Boys are back," Goldberg said in an interview. "We have a lot of ideas: a heaven and hell, for example, and a garden of Eden version where Danny [McBride] is Adam." Despite this, Goldberg has stated it would be difficult to re-create the casting conditions from the first film due to different schedules, believing them to be a stroke of luck, saying, "I honestly don't know if we could get the guys together [again]." In May 2014, Seth Rogen posted a status on Twitter saying, "I don't think we'll make a sequel to This Is the End, but if we did, it would be called No, THIS Is the End.
This Is The End was adapted into a 3D maze entitled This Is The End: 3D at Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood in 2015. The maze served as the event's first comedy-horror based attraction.