HOLLYWOOD -- The apocalyptic film "2012" swept the weekend box office and ranked as the weekend's top movie, taking in a whopping $225 million in worldwide receipts.

For comparison, the Michael Jackson concert film "This Is It" has taken in $200 million globally since its debut Oct. 28 and is widely seen as a runaway success.

The Sony Pictures movie tells a story of what could happen if the Mayan calendar's last days in 2012 result in the destruction of the planet.

In the Roland Emmerich-directed film, which stars John Cusack, Danny Glover and Chiwetel Ejiofor, the earth's crust shifts and flood waters pour over most of the world, forcing people to get aboard giant arks in an effort to survive.

"The story is something people could really relate to," said Sony distribution head Rory Bruer. "It's a story of the survival of humanity."

Gitesh Pandya, editor of the New York-based Box Office Guru website, predicted "2012" could earn $500 million by the end of its theatrical run, according to Bloomberg News.