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The Earth was doomed 23 years ago, if not for Robert Duvall

The earth would have ended in the year 2000 if Robert Duvall and Jon Favreau hadn't flown to space to obliterate a pesky comet with nukes.

Deep Impact

Many of Hollywood’s best disaster movies and action movies coincidentally came in pairs – there was Dante’s Peak and Volcano (both released in 1997), and Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down (both released in 2013). But probably the most famous example was Armageddon and Deep Impact (both released in 1998). And the world would have ended on this day (August 16) in 2000, had it not been for Robert Duvall.

Michael Bay‘s Armageddon starred Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck, and was as typically bombastic as we’ve come to expect from the master of Bayhem. It grossed over $550 million, making it the highest-grossing movie of 1998. The release of Deep Impact was brought forward so it would reach theatres before Armageddon and it did well – making $350 million. But it just didn’t have the same impact (sorry) as Bay, Bruce, and Ben.

Mimi Leder’s Deep Impact had a great cast too, including Robert Duvall, Tea Leoni, Vanessa Redgrave, James Cromwell, Jon Favreau, and Elijah Wood and Leelee Sobieski as a young couple. One of the best aspects was Morgan Freeman as the President, and it’s he who informs the world that; “sometime on August 16, roughly a year from now, there’s a chance that we might have impact” – as shared by the Dates in Movies account.

Deep Impact begins with Elijah Wood’s character discovering the comet in 1998, but it takes a year before Morgan Freeman’s President announces anything to the public. This is so he can present the solution at the same time as the problem – they’ve been secretly building the Messiah spaceship which will intercept the comet with nukes.

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Disaster and action movies being released in pairs aren’t the only examples – there’s also The Prestige and The Illusionist (2006), Steve Jobs and Jobs (2011), and Capote (2005) and Infamous (2006). Our favorite example has got to be the rom-coms Friends with Benefits and No Strings Attached (2011) though – especially because FWB star Mila Kunis and NSA star Ashton Kutcher ended up getting married after being friends for years!

Incidentally, if you’ve never watched Ben Affleck’s hilarious Armageddon DVD commentary, we cannot recommend it highly enough. Check out our guide to the best science fiction movies, for more men saving us from what space throws at us.