2012 was inspired by the Mayan doomsday prophecy that some unspecified 'change' was afoot and as a result, the world would come to an end in 2012. Emmerich wasn't the first person to come up with the idea of making a movie out of this story. Michael Bay had also made some moves towards his own flick based on a book by Communion scribe, Whitley Strieber. Heck, even Nickelodeon got in on the action and pitched a kiddie version of the end of the world story. But we haven't heard a peep out of those projects, so it looks like Emmerich's film might be the only one left standing, especially since Bay is hard at work on Transformers 2.
So despite what you might think of some of his earlier endeavors, Emmerich does have the distinction of being one of the few filmmakers that can finance a film on his own terms before even approaching the studios. This is probably what makes him so very popular with the bosses. 2012 is still a long way off (it will hit during the summer of 2009), so if you can't wait to watch Emmerich blow something up, at least you can look forward to March 7th when 10,000 B.C hits theaters.