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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Final Destination: Craig Perry

1) The first three Final Destination films were successfully released at the
beginning of the year. The Final Destination 3-D fixed what wasn't broken
with its Labor Day release and ended up with a franchise high gross, also
proving that the series could compete in the competitive summer market. Are
you surprised that the Final Destination films continue to grow in
popularity a decade after the series' inception?

Trust me, you never take it for granted so it’s always gratifying when a movie performs well. But I give credit to Warner Bros. They took the existing FD fan base and expanded it on a worldwide basis beyond my wildest dreams. So when they wanted us to make another movie, we saw it as an opportunity to go back to basics and deliver the best movie yet for the fans. And I think we did! FD5 is a significant improvement over all the previous films. I can’t wait for people to see it August 12th.

2) What is a key ingredient to the Final Destination series' longevity?
I believe the unique combination of commercial and contemplative has given this franchise its long legs. Look, first and foremost we’re trying to make an entertaining movie, a fun thrill ride everyone can enjoy. But if you look a little deeper, we explore issues of free will, determinism, fate, destiny, etc. These themes, with their often inherent contradictions, give the franchise a more intelligent and serious backbone than the standard slasher movie. It’s a concept that’s relatable, accessible and deeply rooted in the human psyche.

Everyone wonders when and how they’re going to die, and whether the choices they’ve made have played into their demise. And who hasn’t experienced a feeling of déjà vu? Or imagined something bad was going to happen… and it did? By investing everyday situations and items with a sentient malevolence – literally the hand of Death manipulating objects and events to cause someone to die – the stage is set physically and psychologically for some very unnerving setpieces. Which hopefully lead to a lot of fun in the theater!

3) Final Destination 5 is scheduled for release exactly two years after the
release of the fourth entry. Warner Bros. announced the release date in May,
2010, months before filming began. Have you ever worked with such an early,
predetermined release date?

Only once before, with AMERICAN PIE 2. That was nuts. But it’s a high-class problem to have. Despite the obvious challenges, a set release date forces a tremendous focus of creative energy and financial resources. Everyone has to be on-board from the word “go,” which provides a unique level of security in what is a very insecure business.

4) Do you feel the August 26, 2011 release date allowed a sufficient amount
of time for a production as big and logistically complicated as a Final
Destination film?

Yes. That’s what preproduction is all about! We had a great team generate an airtight plan to get it done. But more importantly, the movie we captured worked. Everything fell into place quickly. So we’re way ahead of schedule in terms of finishing it, which is a huge relief. And it’s allowed us to pull the release date back to August 12th.

5) Does it get easier to make a Final Destination film over time, or is the
series getting even more challenging with the growing scale and puzzles of
the effects sequences?

Absolutely. It’s getting much, much harder to come up with fresh setpieces that are relatable yet carry intrinsic, implied danger. I mean, let’s be honest – this franchise has put a dark twist on nearly every business and setting it has used. Dentistry, kitchens, tanning beds, rollercoasters, planes, home improvement centers, hell, even your own kitchen. Nothing is safe and nothing is sacred! It’s actually sort of distressing. I can’t walk down the street anymore without seeing a thousand ways I might die.

6) The opening disaster scenes in the first four Final Destination
films all involve man's failure to control travel technologies, from a plane
and automobiles to a roller coaster. With its reported suspension bridge
collapse, it appears that Final Destination 5's opening set piece tackles a
different kind of disaster; the crumbling of America's infrastructure. This
particular tragedy we have witnessed repeatedly over recent decades, from
the December 15, 1967 collapse of the Silver Bridge over the Ohio river to
the August 1, 2007 Minnesota bridge collapse over the Mississippi. Does this
shift to a darker disaster scene foretell a scarier approach to Final
Destination 5 on a whole?

We were most interested in exploiting the sense of helpless vertigo one gets when stuck on a large-span bridge. Look left or right, it seems like you’re a mile off the ground. And then you realize there’s nothing underneath you – just a dreadful three-hundred-yard fall to your watery demise. The fact that there have been several tragedies on bridges only solidifies the fears people have about being trapped on them. Moreover, experiencing those rubbery-leg moments in 3D is amazing. The opening bridge sequence in this movie feels like something out of a $150mm summer blockbuster. It’s staggering.

7) Longtime fans of the series are excited by the return of the
mysterious Mr. Bludworth, who we last saw in Final Destination 2. When was
it decided to bring fan favorite Tony Todd back into the franchise, and what
can fans expect from his return?

We tried to get Tony back in TFD, but scheduling wouldn’t permit it. He’s a valued and beloved part of this franchise. We knew the moment we got the go-ahead to start developing another installment that he would have a critical role in the story.

Fans can expect some classic Tony Todd in the new movie. He’s creepy, intimidating, darkly funny and generally awesome.

8)When The Final Destination 3-D was searching for a release date, the
number of 3-D films and 3-D equipped screens in the marketplace appeared to
be a major consideration. Is that the case now, or has there been a
proliferation of 3-D equipped theaters that makes for an easier release

While there are certainly more screens than ever for 3D movies, getting in as many as possible is still the premium objective. Thankfully, we have an established brand. It gives us some latitude when we enter the marketplace.

9) The first three Final Destination films were filmed in Vancouver, BC,
but the fourth film moved the production to New Orleans. What prompted the
decision to move the production of Final Destination 5 back to its original
Vancouver location?

It’s always a question of economics, but Vancouver also offered tremendous ease of use. There are terrific, experienced crews based there, many of whom were familiar with the rigors of making these movies. Given how technically complicated FD5 was, it made sense to go back. Most of all, however, Vancouver is home to the Lions Gate Bridge, which creatively was the perfect bridge for us to bring down in spectacular fashion for the opening setpiece.

10) Have you ever had the urge to turn an American Pie entry into a
Dead Teenager movie?

AMERICAN DESTINATION: FINAL PIE… coming soon to a theater near you!

Interview by Armando Munoz and Michael Coulombe

Final Destination 5 Trailer