The prototype for every disaster movie is the Iliad. Cassandra warns, but Apollo had blessed her with foresight to seduce her, then out of revenge for her refusal he cursed her with not being believed. So Helen is taken anyway and it leads to the disaster Cassandra foretold. In recent versions, especially the Brad Pitt one, instead of possession of women, greed is the reason for the invasion and Helen is the excuse, in keeping with our way of operating (Iraq, etc.) and our beliefs about what motivates people.
There’s a lot of denial about climate catastrophe and the larger ecological crisis, and Hollywood investors are not likely to be the ones to break through it. There have been a bunch of movies made about climate catastrophe, for decades; they just weren’t about it consciously. BigAss Teroid (BAT) movies like Armageddon, Deep Impact, etc. are about climate by unconscious misdirection, as are many other disaster movies–2012, The Day After Tomorrow… In the same way 1950s movies like “Them” were about nuclear fear and guilt in the face of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Project Plowshare-like reactors and the USSR and China making nukes. (China Syndrome continued that, and Cassandra-like, came true only 12 days after the movie was released.) The incredible Shrinking Man was about both nuclear and mechanization fears, including the mechanization of humans–harkening back to 1926’s Metropolis. And 1960s and 70s movies, in the face of a rising ecological awareness, were about revenge of nature for human hubris–so-called “killer bees”, fires, airplanes and building collapses, Jaws. Most of the disaster movies since have also been about the ecological crisis, unconsciously.
Most of the movies we think of as disaster movies follow the Iliad pattern: scientists warn about an imminent disaster (Jaws, BATs, Mad Maxes, Volcano, Dante’s Peak, and most others…) but are ignored, usually because of greed. In Hollywood, the greedy ignorers usually pay by dying. In real life, not so much.
It’s impossible to say for sure whether the people who made all these movies knew what they were about, but I’d guess not, mostly.
Oddly enough, in The Arrival and The Arrival II, 2 of only 4 fictional movies I know of to relatively accurately portray global warming, it’s caused by aliens from space, masquerading as humans and de-terraforming the planet. The only other theatrical movie is the documentary-within-a-fictional-movie The Age of Stupid (2009, Pete Postlethwaite). The TV movie The Fire Next Time (1993, Craig T. Nelson, Bonnie Bedelia) also shows life with climate catastrophe more or less accurately. It’s set in 2017.
Recently there have been more movies sort of about climate change, but fears are probably too strong for people to want to go en masse the way it’s necessary for a movie of the necessary scale to make money. Seeking A Friend for the End of the World is one example of a slightly smaller one that shows how a climate movie could be done, but it’s very hard for Hollywood to confront big events like current wars, or public figures like MLK in any but jingoistic or hagiographic terms–bad movies that few would go to. I’d love to see a good, meaningful climate movie; even more I’d love to write one. But nothing’s occurred to me yet.