National Treasure: Book of Secrets (titled National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets on the DVD/Blu-ray Disc release) is a 2007 adventure film. It is a sequel to the 2004 film National Treasure and is part of the National Treasure Franchise.
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. It took just 38 days of release for the sequel to out-gross the original.
The film premiered in New York City on December 13, 2007 and was first released in Korea and Taiwan on December 19, 2007. It was then released in Australia and the Middle East on December 20, 2007. The film opened in the United States, Canada, Japan, Spain, and Italy on December 21, 2007. It was released in Germany and The Netherlands on January 24, 2008 and in the United Kingdom and Denmark on February 8, 2008.
Five days after the end of the Civil War, John Wilkes Booth and Michael O'Laughlen, both members of the Knights of the Golden Circle (KGC), enter a tavern and approach Thomas Gates (Ben Gates' ancestor), a well-known puzzle solver, to decode a message written in John Wilkes Booth's Diary. Thomas recognizes the message and begins to translate it. While he does so, Booth leaves for Ford's Theatre to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln. Thomas solves the puzzle, a clue to a map to Cíbola, the city of gold, and realizes the men are still loyal to the South and have a sinister motive for finding the treasure. A fight breaks out, and Thomas rips several pages from the diary and throws them in the fireplace. Thomas is shot, and the gunman attempts to retrieve the pages, but only obtains a page fragment. As Thomas dies, Thomas tells his distraught son, Charles Gates, "The debt that all men pay..."
Over 140 years later, Ben Gates is telling his ancestor's story at a Civilian Heroes conference. Black market dealer Mitchell Wilkinson, a Virginia Military Institute graduate, shows one of the 18 missing pages of John Wilkes Booth's diary, with Thomas Gates' name on it, convincing everyone that Thomas was not only a conspirator, but the grand architect of the Lincoln assassination, which tarnishes the Gates Family's reputation and Ben is disgraced.
Refusing to allow his ancestor's name to be tarnished, Ben sets out to prove the innocence of his great-great-great-great-grandfather.
Ben discovers a cipher pointing to Édouard Laboulaye hidden on the back of the diary page. He travels to Paris, France, where he finds a clue engraved on the torch of the scale model of the Statue of Liberty on the Île des Cygnes, referring to the two Resolute desks.
Ben then heads to England to look at the desk at Buckingham Palace with the help of his friend Riley Poole and estranged girlfriend, Abigail Chase (His relationship with Abigail having soured due to him constantly predicting what she might want without even bothering to ask her, even if he is often correct in his assumptions). Ben starts a scene by making a fake argument with Abigail shouting how Abigail sometimes thinks that whenever he answers a question quickly, he is always wrong. A security guard tells Ben and Abigail to leave the Buckingham Palace, but Ben pretends to try to flee from the guard, only to be caught by another guard. He makes the guard think that he is drunk (before he started the argument, he put whiskey on his tongue) and insults the guard by telling the guard that he has a big head. Abigail and Ben were arrested. He and Abigail escape the cell, and gets out of the security via service elevator. From the Queen's desk, he obtains an ancient wooden plank with ancient symbols carved into it.
Meanwhile, Wilkinson breaks into Patrick Gates' house and clones Patrick's cell phone in order 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 Gates for help in translating the symbols. She does so, but points out that some of the glyphs are partial, leading Ben to conclude another plank must be hidden in the other Resolute desk located in the Oval Office. Ben and Abigail coax Abigail's new love interest, Connor, who works at the White House, into letting them into the office to see the desk. Ben discovers that the second plank is missing, but he does find a stamp bearing the seal of the Book of Secrets.
Riley tells Ben that the Book of Secrets contains documents collected by Presidents for Presidents' eyes only, covering such controversial subjects as the eighteen minutes erased from Watergate tapes, Area 51, and the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
After he and his family set the situation up so that all other hotels where the party might take place are fully booked, Ben crashes the president's birthday party at Mount Vernon, where he meets the president. After showing him a map of Mt. Vernon drawn by George Washington, Ben convinces the president to follow him into a secret tunnel under the House where he confronts him about the book; the president sympathetically warns Ben that his actions will be interpreted as an attempt to kidnap the president, confirming a conclusion Ben and his companions have already reached; 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. The President also tells Ben to read page 47 along with the information he needs.
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 in order to protect the treasure.
Ben, Riley, Abigail, and Patrick head to Mount Rushmore where they meet Wilkinson, who has kidnapped Ben's mother. He helps them find the entrance of a cave containing the legendary Native American city of gold, Cíbola.
Once inside, they encounter several traps, and Ben, Abigail, Riley, and Wilkinson get separated from Ben's parents. Eventually, they find the city of gold behind Mount Rushmore.
However, in order to leave the city of gold when it suddenly begins flooding, one person has to stay behind to hold open the stone door to the drainage tunnel beneath the city, an action which would result in certain death. Wilkinson demands to go first by threatening Abigail, so Ben agrees to stay behind. Wilkinson and Ben debate over who goes and who stays (therefore dying). However, pounding of waves and the water causes Wilkinson to be the one to stay behind. Ben gets knocked off the door opener and gets trapped under the door, meaning either Wilkinson stays behind or everybody drowns. Wilkinson, wanting to earn his place in history by discovering Cíbola, sacrifices himself to allow Ben and the others to escape. Ben barely gets out of the flooding room while Wilkinson drowns but not before Ben promises to give Wilkinson some credit for finding the treasure.
Ben clears his family's name with the discovery and is cleared of all charges when the president tells everyone that Ben did not kidnap him, but actually saved his life when the secret passage they were looking at was accidentally activated. Everyone, including Wilkinson, is given credit for the discovery of the Lost City of Gold. The president then asks Ben about what he read on page 47 of the Book of Secrets, to which Ben replies, "It's life-altering, sir."
- Nicolas Cage as Benjamin Franklin Gates
- Jon Voight as Patrick Gates, Ben's father.
- Harvey Keitel as FBI Special Agent Peter Sadusky
- Ed Harris as Mitchell Wilkinson, a black market dealer
- Diane Kruger as Dr. Abigail Chase, Ben's colleague and girlfriend.
- Justin Bartha as Riley Poole, Ben's colleague and best friend.
- Bruce Greenwood as President of the United States.
- Helen Mirren as Dr. Emily Appleton Gates, Ben's mother.
Critics tended to rate the film as below average. Rotten Tomatoes reported that 32% of critics gave the film positive reviews based on 101 reviews. Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 48 out of 100, based on 25 reviews, while British film critics disputed the implication of British involvement on the Confederate side in the American Civil War. It opened at number one with $16,739,339 on its first day, and $44,783,772 its first weekend, the third largest Christmas opening. It reached the $100 million mark in eight days, half the time it took the first film. It stayed at number one for 17 days before dropping to number two, and grossed $457,364,600 worldwide, making it the ninth highest grossing film of 2007.
Disney Press published an official novelization of the screenplay titled National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets The Junior Novel on November 6, 2007. 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. The second youth novel by Hapka, Midnight Ride: A Gates Family Mystery, was published on March 8, 2008.
National Treasure: Book of Secrets was released on DVD, UMD, and Blu-ray Disc on May 20, 2008 (June 2, 2008 in the UK). 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.
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.