Think the end of the world is no laughing matter? Four upcoming comedies hope to change your mind.

Rumors of planet Earth’s destruction in 2012 may have proved greatly exaggerated, but the end of the world still looms large in three comedies out this year. In It’s a Disaster, David Cross and Julia Stiles star as a couple whose brunch is interrupted by news that bombs have devastated several U.S. cities. (The indie will be available on VOD March 5 before beginning a limited theatrical release April 12, but you can already watch parts of it in six-second segments via Twitter’s new subsidiary Vine.) There’s also May 10’s Rapturepalooza with Anna Kendrick and Craig Robinson and June 14’s This Is the End, in which a cast of actors playing versions of themselves — including Robinson, Seth Rogen, and Jonah Hill — attempt to survive an apocalyptic event by holing up at James Franco’s swanky home. And finally, in the fall British director Edgar Wright will put the future of humankind in doubt with his pub crawl of a doomsday flick, The World’s End. Poster tagline: ”Good food. Fine ales. Total annihilation.”

Why are so many end-of-times comedies coming out now? ”It’s because the f—ing world’s ending!” laughs Rogen, who wrote and directed This Is the End with Evan Goldberg. ”There’s global warming, the Pope quit. There are cartoonishly apocalyptic things happening, and it’s on people’s minds.” Meanwhile, It’s a Disaster writer-director Todd Berger suggests that the recent rash of dystopian dramas, such as The Hunger Games and The Road, make the genre ripe for lampooning. ”Eventually the public is so used to all these tropes that it’s time for people to make fun of them,” he says. And how would these funny filmmakers fare in real-life Armageddon? Not well, according to Rogen: ”I assume there would be a lot of manual labor. We’d be screwed.”

The Hunger Games
  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • Gary Ross