Even the insular world of entertainment has been touched by the events of the past week. The industry, which has reassessed upcoming releases for sensitivity, has been forced to cancel shows, rework schedules and postpone some films indefinitely.
Both Warner Bros. Pictures and Touchstone Pictures announced postponements of upcoming films on Wednesday. Barry Sonnenfeld’s “Big Trouble”, the adaptation of the Dave Barry comic novel, has been moved to 2002. The Tim Allen vehicle was scheduled to open on Friday, but producers have pulled the film, which features a number of people attempting to recover a stolen nuclear weapon.
Warner Bros. also announced that it would be postponing Arnold Schwarzenegger’s upcoming film, “Collateral Damage” indefinitely. The film, directed by Andrew Davis, involves a fire fighter who vows revenge on a group of terrorists after they kill his family. The $80 million film was pulled “out of respect for the victims and their families,” according to the film’s official web site.
Advertising has also been examined for potentially upsetting imagery. Sony Pictures has pulled all advertising for the upcoming Spider-Man film in which the World Trade Center was prominently featured. Among the promotions that have been pulled are theater trailers in which a helicopter is captured in a giant spider web woven between the twin towers. Posters of the film also showed the towers reflected in the eyes of the super hero.
“The Castle” a new film featuring Robert Redford and James Gandolfini, is revamping its advertising because the current campaign depicts an American flag upside down, a signal of distress. The new artwork will feature the profiles of the film’s stars.
In addition to recalling finished products, studios are halting on films featuring the former New York landmark in order to retool their plots. Writers were called in to rework Barry Sonnenfeld’s science-fiction comedy film, “Men in Black 2” which originally ended at the World Trade Center. Despite the setback, the picture is currently in production and scheduled for release in July.
Among other films undergoing rewrites are Jackie Chan’s “Nosebleed” and “Lockerbie,” which stars Sean Connery. In “Nosebleed,” Chan plays a World Trade Center window washer who foils terrorists trying to destroy the Statue of Liberty. Connery’s film is the true story of the investigation into the bombing of Pan Am flight 103, which exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland.
Television has also been effected. The new fall season line-up will be broadcast one week late in order to accommodate continuing coverage of the events surrounding the terrorist strikes in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania.
Network television has suspended commercials during the past week in order to broadcast stories about the tragedies around the clock. News stories aired continuously for days after morning news shows first captured live footage of the attack on the second World Trade Center tower on Tuesday morning.
Networks are also considering how to handle the season’s three new shows featuring the Central Intelligence Agency. “The Agency”, one of the CIA-centered shows, will not air its first episode because it involved a terrorist bomb plot in London.
In addition, the television industry has also canceled its annual Emmy awards show. It has not yet been rescheduled and it may take as long as a month before a date is announced.. The Latin Grammys, a music award show that was scheduled to air Sept. 11, has also been preempted indefinitely.
In a particularly chilling turn of events, cover art for a new album by hip-hop group The Coup is back on the drawing board. The original art for the album, which includes a track called “5 million ways to kill a CEO,” featured one of the group’s members blowing up the World Trade Center. The album, with new cover art, is scheduled for release November 6.
In the literary world, the book publishing division of AOL-Time Warner has postponed the promotion of a highly anticipated book by retiring General Electric chairman Jack F. Welch Jr. The book campaign is expected to be the largest in publishing history.
Staff Writer Stephen Allan can be contacted at: [email protected]