The film was released in 2009 to a huge box-office reception of guilty pleasure dollars and popcorn lovers everywhere.

The film is set in December 2012 and is an epic adventure about a global cataclysm that brings an end to the world and tells of the heroic struggle of the survivors.

It was, said head of Nasa's Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous mission Donald Yeomans, an "exceptional and extraordinary" example of Hollywood bad science. "The film-makers took advantage of public worries about the so-called end of the world as apparently predicted by the Mayans of Central America, whose calendar ends on December 21, 2012," Yeomans told newspaper the Australian.

The Space Agency named several other films to its worst list including:

  • The Day After Tomorrow (global warming, accelerated)
  • The Sixth Day (insta-clones)
  • Chain Reaction (bubble fusion)
  • The Core (magnetic field trouble)
  • What the Bleep Do We Know? ("documentary")
  • Volcano (LA sprouts a volcano)
  • Armageddon (Asteroid the size of Texas)

The agency had praise, however, for the attention to scientific accuracy exhibited in Gattaca (recruitment via DNA), Blade Runner, Metropolis and Jurassic Park.