National Treasure: Book of Secrets

National Treasure: Book of Secrets (released on home video as National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets) is a 2007 American 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 film series. The film stars Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel, Ed Harris, Bruce Greenwood, and Helen Mirren.

National Treasure: Book of Secrets
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJon Turteltaub
Produced byJerry Bruckheimer
Jon Turteltaub
Screenplay byCormac Wibberley
Marianne Wibberley
Story by
Based onCharacters
by Jim Kouf
Oren Aviv
Charles Segars
Music byTrevor Rabin
CinematographyJohn Schwartzman
Amir Mokri
Edited byWilliam Goldenberg
David Rennie
Distributed byWalt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release date
  • December 21, 2007 (2007-12-21)
Running time
124 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$130 million[1]
Box office$457.4 million[2]

The film premiered in New York City on December 13, 2007, and was released in North America by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures on December 21, 2007. Like its predecessor, the film received mixed reviews but was a box office success, grossing over $457.4 million worldwide.[2]


On April 14, 1865, five days after the end of the American Civil War, John Wilkes Booth and Michael O'Laughlen enter a tavern in Washington, DC, and approach Thomas Gates to decode a message in Booth's diary. Thomas recognizes the message as using the Playfair cipher and begins to translate it. While he does so, Booth leaves for Ford's Theatre to assassinate US President Abraham Lincoln. Thomas solves the puzzle and realizes the men are members of the Knights of the Golden Circle and are Confederate sympathizers. A fight breaks out, and Thomas rips several pages from the diary and throws them in the fireplace. Thomas is shot, and the gunman retrieves only a page fragment.

Approximately 142 years later, Thomas's great-great-grandson Ben Gates delivers a lecture on the story at a Civilian Heroes conference. A black market antiquities dealer, Mitch Wilkinson, shows one of the 18 missing pages of John Wilkes Booth's diary, with Thomas Gates's name written on it, convincing everyone that Thomas was not only a conspirator but also the grand architect of the Lincoln assassination. Ben sets out to prove Thomas's innocence.

Using spectral imaging, Ben; his estranged girlfriend, Abigail Chase, and his friend, Riley Poole, discover a cipher pointing to Édouard Laboulaye hidden on the back of the diary page. Ben and Riley travel to Paris, where they find a clue engraved on the torch of the scale model of the Statue of Liberty, referring to the two Resolute desks. One of the desks is used by the President of the United States at the Oval Office in Washington, and the other is used by the Queen of the United Kingdom in Buckingham Palace in London.

Ben and Riley then head to London to infiltrate the Palace, and Abigail shows up unannounced. From the Queen's desk, Ben obtains an ancient wooden plank. Meanwhile, Wilkinson has broken into Patrick Gates's house and cloned Patrick's cell phone to track Ben's whereabouts. Wilkinson eventually obtains the wooden plank, but not before Ben manages to photograph the symbols carved into the plank.

At Ben's insistence, Patrick reluctantly asks his ex-wife and Ben's mother, Dr. Emily Appleton, for help in translating the symbols. She does so but points out that some of the glyphs are partial, leading Ben to conclude that another plank must be hidden in the other Resolute desk at the White House.

Ben and Abigail coax Abigail's new love interest, Connor, a curator for the White House, into letting them into the office to see the desk. Ben discovers that the second plank is missing but he finds a stamp bearing the seal of the "President's Secret Book." Riley tells Ben that the so-called "Book of Secrets" contains documents collected "for presidents, by presidents and for presidents' eyes only" and covers such controversial subjects as the JFK assassination, Watergate, and Area 51.

Ben rigs the president's birthday party to be moved to Mount Vernon, where he crashes the party by showing up uninvited to convince the president to follow him into a secret tunnel under the House, where he confronts him about the book. The president, upon learning of Ben's cause, sympathizes but warns Ben that his actions will be interpreted as an attempt to kidnap the president and that Ben is now wanted for committing a federal offense. Ben convinces the president to reveal the location of the book, which is at the Library of Congress, with the stipulation that he is not to tell anyone else about the information contained in the book.

In the book, Ben finds a picture of the missing plank from the desk and an entry by President Coolidge, who found the plank in 1924, had it destroyed, and commissioned Gutzon Borglum to carve Mount Rushmore to erase the map's landmarks to protect the treasure. However, FBI Agent Sadusky tracks Ben to the Library, and the three narrowly escape capture.

Ben, Riley, Abigail, and Patrick then head to Mount Rushmore, where they meet Wilkinson, who has kidnapped Emily. Wilkinson helps them find the entrance of a cave containing the legendary Native American city of gold, Cíbola. Once inside, they encounter several traps and everyone gets separated. Eventually, they find the city of solid gold underneath Mount Rushmore and it begins flooding with water. To get out alive, one person must stay behind to hold open the door to the tunnel. After a struggle and Ben's attempt to sacrifice himself, Wilkinson ends up staying behind and asking Ben to give him joint credit for helping them in finding the treasure.

Ben clears his family's name with the discovery and is cleared of all charges when the president, in an attempt to protect Ben, tells everyone that Ben saved his life. Ben also ensures Wilkinson receives joint credit for the find. At the end, the president mentions the favor he asked of Ben when he gave him the location of the book. Riley meets a woman who has read his book and gets his Ferrari back from the president who owes him a favor. Ben and Abigail get back together. Emily leads the excavation of Cibola and reconciles with Patrick.


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. In France, Guillaume Gallienne and Scali Delpeyrat appear (uncredited) as the French policemen.


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.

Many scenes of historic locations were filmed on location, including the scenes at Mount Vernon and Mount Rushmore.[3][4] 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.[4] The scene at the beginning of the film in which Riley is signing copies of his book of the Templar Treasure until his Ferrari is confiscated by the IRS took place at the street level Borders Group bookstore of Garfinckel's Department Store.


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

1."Page 47"Trevor Rabin2:39
2."Cibola"Trevor Rabin5:16
3."Spirit of Paris"Trevor Rabin2:20
4."City of Gold"Trevor Rabin2:13
5."So!"Trevor Rabin1:46
6."Bunnies"Trevor Rabin2:03
7."Gabby Shuffle"Trevor Rabin1:52
8."Franklin's Tunnel"Trevor Rabin4:28
Total length:22:37[5]


Box office

National Treasure: Book of Secrets grossed $44.8 million in its opening week, placing at #1 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).

The film 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] making it the ninth-highest-grossing film of 2007,[7] and the highest-grossing film in the series. It took 38 days to outgross the first film ($347.5 million).

Critical response

Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a rating of 36% based on 128 reviews and 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."[8] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 48 out of 100, based on 26 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[9] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.[10]

Roger Ebert gave the film 2 out of 4 stars.[11]

British film critics disputed the implication of British support for the Confederate side in the American Civil War.[12]


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 the 2008 MTV Movie Awards, but lost to Transformers.

Home video

National Treasure: Book of Secrets was released on DVD, UMD, and Blu-ray Disc on May 20, 2008[13] (June 2, 2008 in the UK).[14] 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.[15]

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.[16]


Disney Press published an official novelization of the screenplay titled National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets The Junior Novel on November 6, 2007.[17] 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. However, 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.[18] The second youth novel by Hapka, Midnight Ride: A Gates Family Mystery, was published on March 8, 2008.[19]


Director Jon Turteltaub said that the team will take their time on a second National Treasure sequel,[20] but Disney has already registered the domains for and[21] 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, Turteltaub confirmed 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".[22]

In 2014 producer Jerry Bruckheimer confirmed director John Turteltaub was coming back but with a new team of writers, saying, "Yeah, we're working on another National Treasure. We just had a meeting...with the writers and the director, so hopefully that will come together."[23] On May 25, 2016, Nicolas Cage confirmed the movie was still in the writing process.[24] In September 2017, Bruckheimer revealed that the script was finished, but Disney was not satisfied with the story,[25] and July 2018, Turtletaub reiterated that a script for a possible third film was "close" but Disney still wasn't completely sold by the idea.[26]

See also


  1. "National Treasure: Book of Secrets". Already seen. 2007. Archived from the original on November 21, 2008. Retrieved April 18, 2008.
  2. "National Treasure: Books of Secrets (2007)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 11, 2008.
  3. "The National Treasure Tour at Mount Vernon". Mount Vernon Ladies' Association. Archived from the original on August 1, 2011. Retrieved June 12, 2011.
  4. "'National Treasure 2' Shooting Update". Worst Previews. Retrieved June 12, 2011.
  5. National Treasure: Book of Secrets Soundtrack TheOST. Retrieved January 13, 2014
  6. "National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 28, 2007.
  7. "2007 Worldwide Grosses". Box Office Mojo.
  8. "National Treasure: Book of Secrets". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved January 19, 2008.
  9. "National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007): Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved December 28, 2007.
  10. "CinemaScore". CinemaScore.
  12. Bradshaw, Peter (February 8, 2008). "National Treasure: Book of Secrets". The Guardian. Retrieved January 23, 2011.
  13. Lai, Marcus. "National Treasure Blu-ray orders spike at Amazon". Punch jump. Archived from the original on October 4, 2008. Retrieved April 16, 2008.
  14. "National Treasure 2 – Book of Secrets". Amazon. Retrieved July 15, 2008.
  15. "National Treasure: The Book of Secrets – DVD Sales", The Numbers, 2007
  16. "Disney's National Treasure Limited Leather 5-Disc Set DVD (National Treasure, National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets)". Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  17. "National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets, The Junior Novel". Amazon. Retrieved November 27, 2007.
  18. "Changing Tides (National Treasure)". Amazon. Retrieved November 28, 2007.
  19. "Midnight Ride (Gates Family Mystery)". Amazon. Retrieved July 15, 2008.
  20. Kirkland, Bruce (May 30, 2008). "'National Treasure 3' in works". Jam!. CA: Canoe. Archived from the original on July 17, 2012.
  21. Sciretta, Peter (February 1, 2008). "Disney Plans For National Treasure 3 & 4". SlashFilm.
  22. Franklin, Garth (October 22, 2013). "A "National Treasure 3" Is On The Way?". Dark Horizons.
  23. Romano, Nick (May 25, 2016). "A "National Treasure 3"".
  24. "'National Treasure 3': Nic Cage Says the Writers Are Still Fact-Checking". May 25, 2016.
  26. Alyssa Fikse (July 30, 2018). "The Director Of 'National Treasure' Explains Why We Haven't Gotten A Third Movie Yet". Uproxx. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
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