City of Ember is a 2008 science fiction fantasy film based on the 2003 novel of the same name by Jeanne DuPrau. It was directed by Gil Kenan from a screenplay by Caroline Thompson, and stars Saoirse Ronan, Harry Treadaway, Bill Murray, Mackenzie Crook, Martin Landau and Tim Robbins. It was released in October 2008, just two months after the release of the final "Book of Ember", The Diamond of Darkhold.
In the midst of a nuclear war, the Builders of the underground "City of Ember" to protect a small group. They agree that 200 years should be a reasonable margin of safety to stay underground. They place secret instructions to future generations in a small box, timed to open in 200 years. The box is thrust into the hands of the mayor of the underground complex. Each mayor, in turn, passes the box onto his or her successor. When the box has 47 more years left on the time-lock, the mayor holding the box dies suddenly. The significance of the box had not been explained to anyone else, and the mayor's family places it in junk-filled closet. When it finally reaches year 200, the time-lock clicks open, but the event goes unnoticed.
For generations, the people of Ember have lived in a huge