Expert talks fact and fiction behind Hollywood's 'San Andreas' movie

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - Some say it will be one of Hollywood's blockbuster movies this year.

"San Andreas" starring Hayward's own Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson opened in some theaters Thursday night.

But could the big quake in the movie happen here in the Bay Area? That's the question KTVU asked local experts. "All of the disaster stuff is more than anything we expect scientifically to be happening in California," said Peggy Hellweg from Berkeley Seismological Laboratory.

The movie shows destruction and terror as buildings are decimated and ripped apart.

"There's just something fun about seeing the city and towns you love up on the big screen and watching them get destroyed," said Jeremy Smith of Berkeley.

Scenes from the movie "San Andreas" show Hollywood's vision of what could happen after 9.1 and 9.6 earthquakes hit the San Andreas fault.

But Hellweg says that's not possible. "The biggest earthquake we expect is a magnitude 8, maybe a magnitude 8.3 or 8.4 even if the entire San Andreas Fault goes at once," says Hellweg. Who says she was skeptical going into an early screening of the movie.

When it was over she says her feelings were justified. Another man who saw the movie agreed. "The area underneath the Golden Gate Bridge is about 300 feet deep so for a wave to be that perfectly formed and come in - no way," said Leo Siecienski of Berkeley.

Now we all know what Hollywood shows us on the big screen may be a stretch, so KTVU asked Hellweg what facts in the movie are true.

"There is a San Andreas Fault, and (an) earthquake will happen," she said.

KTVU found quite a few people who really want to see it, even though it's loosely based on a natural disaster.

"I do think someday we will have an earthquake, and it will be shocking and scary but I don't think it will be the way they have it in the movie," said Tom Petersen of Oakland. "I live here in the absolute faith that something like it will happen and it will affect me," said Smith.