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The Ending Of San Andreas Explained

Destination disaster movies, generally associated with the 1970s and relegated to gas station DVD racks across America, threw Hollywood for something of a loop in 2015 when one Dwayne Johnson brought them back into the moviegoing public's eye. San Andreas managed to rake in nearly half a billion dollars at the box office — not MCU money, but nothing to sneeze at.

The picture brought back another golden oldie from fifty years ago, too: the idea that the San Andreas Fault could be plotting against the good people of California, sneakily planning to snap the state into the Pacific Ocean like a densely populated Slim Jim. Like in so many of those 1970s "disasterpieces," the grim forecast is made by a frustrated seismologist (played here by Paul Giamatti).

Chaos ensues as the Golden State is hit by a devastating earthquake. Enter: fire rescue helicopter pilot Ray Gaines (Johnson), the fittest man ever to have a job where you basically sit all day. Ray rescues his estranged wife Emma (Carla Gugino) from the chaos in LA, but the couple's daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario) is chilling in San Francisco with Emma's boyfriend, a real piece of work played by Ioan Gruffudd. The boyfriend, who should really be trying harder to impress other people since the woman he's dating used to be married to The Rock, eventually abandons Blake, pretty much cementing his fate as a second-act casualty.

San Andreas ends with earthquakes, tsunamis and more

Ray and Emma set off on a high-stakes adventure, flying in the general direction of their kid until the dang old helicopter breaks down. An absurd sequence of events unfolds that sees the duo stealing a truck, then swapping it for an airplane, then parachuting into a stadium, then pirating a boat. By the end of the movie, they're a space shuttle and an Old West locomotive away from filling their means of transportation bingo cards.

Meanwhile, another even bigger earthquake hits California. The resulting tsunami takes out the Golden Gate Bridge and, more importantly, Emma's absolute turd of a boyfriend. Ray and Emma catch up with Blake, attempting to find shelter in a building, but the tidal wave hits them. Ray proves once and for all that he's a better paternal figure than what's-his-name from earlier by not only refusing to abandon his daughter, but also by not getting killed by the ocean. Then Emma rescues the newly reunited family unit with a boat.

As a result of the natural disasters, most of California is destroyed and the San Francisco Peninsula is now San Francisco Island. Emma and Ray get back together, and the American flag flies from what's left of the Golden Gate Bridge as a reminder that the United States will persevere  — oh, and also that Emma's loser boyfriend died there once. 

Offscreen, New Line announced their intention to produce a sequel, and while nobody officially titles the project "2an Andrea2," everyone knows in their heart of hearts that things will probably shake out that way.