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National Treasure: Book of Secrets

National Treasure: Book of Secrets
File:Book of secrets post.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jon Turteltaub
Produced by Jon Turteltaub
Jerry Bruckheimer
Screenplay by Cormac Wibberley
Marianne Wibberley
Story by Gregory Poirier
Cormac Wibberley
Marianne Wibberley

Terry Rossio
Ted Elliott
Starring Nicolas Cage
Diane Kruger
Justin Bartha
Jon Voight
Harvey Keitel
Ed Harris
Bruce Greenwood
Helen Mirren
Music by Trevor Rabin
Cinematography John Schwartzman
Amir Mokri
Edited by William Goldenberg
David Rennie
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release dates
  • December 21, 2007 (2007-12-21)
Running time
124 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $130 million[1]
Box office $457.4 million[2]

National Treasure: Book of Secrets (released on home video as National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets) is a 2007 mystery/adventure film directed by Jon Turteltaub and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. It is a sequel to the 2004 film National Treasure and is the second part of the National Treasure franchise. The film stars Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel, Ed Harris, Bruce Greenwood, and Helen Mirren.

It was stated in the first film's commentary that there were no plans for a sequel, but due to the first film's impressive box-office performance (earning $347.5 million worldwide), a sequel was given the go-ahead in 2005.

The film premiered in New York City on December 13, 2007, and was released in North America by Walt Disney Pictures on December 21, 2007.


In 1865 after the American Civil War, Thomas Gates (Joel Gretsch) and his son Charles Carroll Gates (Billy Unger) are approached by John Wilkes Booth (Christian Camargo) and Michael O'Laughlen, both of them KGC. They ask Thomas, a skilled puzzle-solver, to decode a playfair cipher written in Booth's diary. O'Laughlen stays with Thomas as Booth leaves to assassinate Abraham Lincoln. Just as Thomas discovers the message is a map to Cíbola, the fabled City of Gold, chaos arises in the streets from Lincoln's assassination. Thomas realizes that Booth and O'Laughlen are still loyal to the South and tosses the diary pages into a fire after O'Laughlen shoots him. O'Laughlen manages to save a partial page from the fireplace before escaping. Thomas' dying words to Charles are "the debt that all men pay".

142 years later in modern day, three years after the events of the first film, Benjamin Gates (Nicolas Cage), Thomas' great-great-grandson, is retelling Thomas' story at a Civilian Heroes conference. He and his father Patrick Gates (Jon Voight) are publicly accosted by Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris), a black market dealer who has come into possession of the Booth diary page, which appears to link Thomas to Booth and Lincoln's assassination. Ben is determined to solve the puzzle on the page to restore Thomas' legacy.

Meanwhile, Agent Peter Sadusky (Harvey Keitel) of the FBI finds it suspicious that a black market dealer like Mitch would suddenly come forward with a rare Civil War artifact. Ben meets up with his technology-savvy friend Riley Poole when his Ferrari just got impounded by the IRS because of an unexpected debt. Ben requests his ex-girlfriend Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger) to access the diary page, and after several hours of examination they discover the cipher on the diary page.

Thanks to Thomas' last words that Patrick heard from Charles they know the key code is "Death". Ben figure the cipher points to a hidden inscription on the scale model of the Statue of Liberty on the Île aux Cygnes by Édouard Laboulaye who was a Freemason. In Paris, the inscription points to the two Resolute desks, one of which is in Buckingham Palace, the other in the White House. Ben is unaware that Mitch is following in his footsteps, using an illegal clone of Patrick's cell phone to intercept messages. In London, Ben discovers that Patrick has sent Abigail to help. They sneak into the Queen's private living quarters and find that the Resolute desk acts as a puzzle box, revealing a hidden compartment with a centuries-old plank of wood with indecipherable hieroglyphics on it. Ben then photographs it with a traffic light camera before Mitch and his men steal it after a car chase through London. Back in Washington D.C, Patrick indicates the plank leads to Cíbola, the City of Gold. Reading a book about Native American history, tells how explorers tried to find Cíbola after its first discovery in 1527 but couldn't find it.

Dr. Emily Appleton-Gates (Helen Mirren), Ben's mother and Patrick's ex-wife, is able to translate part of the plank but states that the message isn't complete. Abigail uses her current boyfriend, Conner (Ty Burrell), a White House curator, to sneak Ben into the Oval Office to get the other plank, but Ben finds the Resolute desk compartment empty, except for a picture of an eagle with a scroll instead of olive branches, a symbol representing the supposed "Book of Secrets". Riley asserts that the Book is real, having himself just written a book on its existence, and claims that it contains the truth behind many conspiracy theories, believing the other plank is photographed in the Book. Traditionally, the only person to know the whereabouts of the Book of Secrets is the current President (Bruce Greenwood) himself, since it's for Presidents' eyes only. Ben asks Sadusky if he can get the Book for him, but Sadusky tells Ben that the only way to see it is if he gets elected President. Desperate to find evidence of Cibola, Ben sets his friends on a quest to kidnap the President.

Ben and his team manipulate events to assure that the President's birthday celebration occurs at Mount Vernon, allowing Ben to sneak in and lure the President alone to a set of old tunnels that have not been explored for centuries. Ben then blocks off the entrance, trapping the President alone with him so that they can talk about the Book of Secrets. Though the President warns Ben that he will be charged with kidnapping him, he is sympathetic to Ben's cause and provides him with the Book's location at the Library of Congress. Ben, Abigail, and Riley locate the Book as the FBI, including Sadusky, surround the building. In the Book, they find that President Calvin Coolidge found the other plank in 1924 and destroyed it after taking a photo (which is still in the Book). He also ordered Gutzon Borglum to carve Mount Rushmore to hide the landmark indicated on the plank in order to protect Cíbola. As Ben and his team elude the FBI, he sends an image of the plank to Patrick to give to Emily to decode, unaware that Mitch has intercepted this. Mitch forces Emily to lie to Patrick about the inscription's meaning, but gives him a non-verbal cue of this falsehood.

Ben, Patrick, Abigail and Riley arrive at Mount Rushmore, prepared to deal with Mitch, but find that Mitch has brought Emily along, using her as a hostage to ensure Ben follows the final clues on an old letter sent from Queen Victoria to Confederate general Albert Pike. Ben finds the secret entrance, and after avoiding several traps, the group arrives at Cíbola, the City of Gold. Mitch apologizes to Ben for damaging his family name. As they explore, they accidentally cause the cave to flood with water from the lake above. The only means of escape is through a drainage door that must be held open during the escape and closed afterwards, trapping the one controlling the door since it can't stay open by itself. Mitch initially forces Ben to sacrifice himself, while threatening to cut Abigail's throat but after a surge of water, Mitch finds himself holding the door open. He requests that part of this discovery be in his name. Ben and his friends escape safely while Mitch stays behind and drowns.

Ben and his friends are met by Sadusky and taken to a nearby military base. Ben is cleared of kidnapping by the President himself who claims that Ben rescued him after the tunnel closed accidentally. Thomas Gates' name is cleared and he is called a hero of the Civil War. Sometime later, Cíbola's discovery is announced with Ben, his team, and Mitch given credit for its discovery. Patrick and Emily, happily working together, eagerly take to the task of analyzing Cíbola once it is drained of water. Ben and Abigail rekindle their broken relationship. Riley arrives home to find that the President has given his Ferrari back. The only mystery remaining is what the President asked Ben to decipher on Page 47 of the Book, which Ben says was a life-changing message.


Randy Travis makes a cameo appearance, playing himself. Small supporting parts are played by Joel Gretsch and Billy Unger as Gates' ancestors Thomas Gates and Charles Carroll Gates; Christian Camargo as John Wilkes Booth; and Zachary Gordon as a boy who gets into a heated argument with Gates over a Lincoln conspiracy.


Critical response

National Treasure: Book of Secrets received mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a rating of 35%, based on 125 reviews, with an average rating of 4.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "A talented cast goes to waste in the improbable National Treasure: Book of Secrets, which is eerily similar to the first film."[3] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 48 out of 100, based on 26 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[4]

British film critics disputed the implication of British support for the Confederate side in the American Civil War.[5] The film earned two Razzie Award nominations including Worst Actor for Nicolas Cage (also for Ghost Rider and Next) and Worst Supporting Actor for Jon Voight (also for Bratz: The Movie, September Dawn and Transformers), but lost both categories to Eddie Murphy for Norbit.

The film was nominated for Best Movie at 2008 MTV Movie Awards, but lost to Transformers.

Box office

National Treasure: Book of Secrets grossed $220 million in North America and $237.4 million in other territories for a total gross of $457.4 million, against a budget of $130 million.[6] It took 38 days to outgross the first film ($347.5 million).

In its opening weekend, the film grossed $44.8 million, finishing in first at the box office. It remained in first at the box office for two more weeks, grossing $35.7 million and $20.1 million, respectively, until it was dethroned by The Bucket List ($19.4 million).


Disney Press published an official novelization of the screenplay titled National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets The Junior Novel on November 6, 2007.[7] Parts of the story in the novel version differ slightly from what was actually filmed, owing to changes being made in the screenplay prior to and during production. For example, in the novel, Ben and Abigail photograph the wooden plank found hidden in the Queen's desk and leave it behind, with the car chase following. But in the movie, they take the plank with them on the chase.

Also published on the same day as the official novelization was a companion youth novel Changing Tides: A Gates Family Mystery by Catherine Hapka. Its story is set in England in the year 1612 and is the first in a series of planned historical novels about the Gates family. The epilogue from Changing Tides is included at the back of the National Treasure book.[8] The second youth novel by Hapka, Midnight Ride: A Gates Family Mystery, was published on March 8, 2008.[9]

Home video

National Treasure: Book of Secrets was released on DVD, UMD, and Blu-ray Disc on May 20, 2008[10] (June 2, 2008 in the UK).[11] In the opening weekend, 3,178,631 DVD units were sold, bringing in $50,826,310 in revenue. As of August 2009, 5,873,640 DVD units have been sold, generating revenue of $93,132,076. This does not include Blu-ray Disc sales or DVD rentals.[12]

The film has been retitled National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets for all three releases. The film's official website has also been changed accordingly.

A special edition, called the "National Treasure Presidential Edition", contains National Treasure and National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets inside a letter book which is a replica of the Presidents' secret book from National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets.[13]


The soundtrack to National Treasure: Book of Secrets was released on December 18, 2007.

No. TitleArtist Length
1. "Page 47"  Trevor Rabin 2:39
2. "Cibola"  Trevor Rabin 5:16
3. "Spirit of Paris"  Trevor Rabin 2:20
4. "City of Gold"  Trevor Rabin 2:13
5. "So!"  Trevor Rabin 1:46
6. "Bunnies"  Trevor Rabin 2:03
7. "Gabby Shuffle"  Trevor Rabin 1:52
8. "Franklin's Tunnel"  Trevor Rabin 4:28
Total length:


Many scenes of historic locations were filmed on location, including the scenes at Mount Vernon and Mount Rushmore.[15][16] Filming at Mount Rushmore took longer than initially scheduled, due to inclement weather and the decision to change the setting of additional scenes to the area around Mount Rushmore to take advantage of Black Hills backdrop.[16]


Director Jon Turteltaub said that the team will take their time on a second National Treasure sequel,[17] but Disney has already registered the domains for and[18] Though the second film ended with the question about page 47 of the President's book of secrets, Turteltaub responded in a press interview that the idea was not set in stone as the basis for National Treasure 3.

In October 2013, filmmaker Jon Turteltaub confirmed to Collider that the studio, himself, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and the actors all want to do the third film: "We want to do the movie, Disney wants to do the movie. We're just having the damnedest time writing it. I'll bet that within two years, we'll be shooting that movie. I'd say we're about half-way there. It's not only writing a great historical mystery, but we've gotta write something that has nothing to do with anything we've done before. The goal is to always have an original sequel, as silly as that sounds. We really want to make sure that the third one doesn’t just feel like a repeat of the first one, or one too many".[19]

See also


  1. ^ "National Treasure: Book of Secrets". Already seen. 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 
  2. ^ Cite error: The named reference BOM was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  3. ^ "National Treasure: Book of Secrets". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  4. ^ "National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2007-12-28. 
  5. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (8 February 2008). "National Treasure: Book of Secrets". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 January 2011. 
  6. ^ "National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2007-12-28. 
  7. ^ "National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets, The Junior Novel". Amazon. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  8. ^ "Changing Tides (National Treasure)". Amazon. Retrieved 2007-11-28. 
  9. ^ "Midnight Ride (Gates Family Mystery)". Amazon. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  10. ^ Lai, Marcus. "National Treasure Blu-ray orders spike at Amazon". Punch jump. Retrieved 2008-04-16. 
  11. ^ "National Treasure 2 – Book of Secrets". Amazon. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  12. ^ "National Treasure: The Book of Secrets – DVD Sales", The Numbers, 2007 
  13. ^ "Disney's National Treasure Limited Leather 5-Disc Set DVD (National Treasure, National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets)". Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  14. ^ National Treasure: Book of Secrets Soundtrack TheOST. Retrieved January 13, 2014
  15. ^ "The National Treasure Tour at Mount Vernon". Mount Vernon Ladies' Association. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  16. ^ a b "‘National Treasure 2’ Shooting Update". Worst Previews. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  17. ^ Kirkland, Bruce (2008-05-30). "'National Treasure 3' in works". Jam!. CA: Canoe. 
  18. ^ Sciretta, Peter (2008-02-01). "Disney Plans For National Treasure 3 & 4". SlashFilm. 
  19. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links