At some point last year, you probably heard the troubling news that, according to a calendar the Maya created thousands of years ago, the world was going to end on Dec. 21. Well, in case you didn’t get a chance to read the paper on the 22nd, the world did not end on the 21st. And in all fairness to the Maya, they didn’t actually predict the end of the world on the 21st. That was just the date on which their calendar happened to reach the end of a 5,000+ year cycle … which it then started all over again on the 22nd. Sort of like a Mesoamerican version of Y2K.
Even though the world has stubbornly stuck around, our collective case of apocalypse fever promises to get even stronger in 2013. Just take a look at the list of upcoming blockbusters that feature men dealing with the end of the world: The trailer for “Pacific Rim” features Idris Elba announcing, “Today we are canceling the apocalypse!” Brad Pitt deals with a zombie apocalypse in “World War Z.” Steven Spielberg is returning to sci-fi with “Robopocalypse.” Seth Rogen/ Jonah Hill/ James Franco/ etc. star in “The Apocalypse.” Mel Gibson, having suffered a career apocalypse, will be absent from “Mad Max: Fury Road.” And both Will Smith (in “After Earth”) and Tom Cruise (in “Oblivion”) are set to explore an all-but-abandoned Earth years after apocalypses destroyed it.
All of those movies are arriving at an opportune time — and not just because some wackadoos misread the Maya calendar. According to a recent poll conducted by the Washington Post and ABC News, a whopping 56% of men say they’re “fearful” about what’s in store for the world in 2013. Does that mean guys are going to warily spend their money this year solely on supplies to stock their bunkers? Not necessarily. True, BuzzFeed recently published a fascinating story on Tim Ralston, a guy who has created a small business empire marketing survival products to “preppers” anticipating various incarnations of the end of the world. But a study published in the journal Psychological Science found that people who feel down are actually willing to pay more money for material goods — any material goods, not just Spam and bottled water — than people who are in good moods.
So will men worried about the end of the world — or at least, worried about the direction in which the world is headed — engage in some good ol’ fashioned retail therapy to make themselves feel better this year? That remains to be seen. But one thing is almost certain: Guys will be buying plenty of movie tickets this year.