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|September 19, 2001||
Terror Tuesday strikes Hollywood
Arthur J Pais in Toronto
Pearl Harbor, King Kong, Towering Inferno, and Independence Day, with their depictions of untold terror and destruction have been a source of delight to many a Hollywood film buff.
Not any more.
Last week's terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York have prompted filmmakers and distributors to postpone the release of many films, including comedies, which have remote connections with New York City, a terrorist attack or a bomb scare.
Disney postponed the Tim Allen comedy Big Trouble because the film contained scenes of Miami's International Airport being bombed.
The Ed Burns romantic comedy Sidewalks Of New York, which was a hit at the recent Toronto International Film Festival, has also been pushed back. It was to open this Friday. According to critics, the images of a romantic Manhattan seem very inappropriate now.
Paramount Classics, its distributors, however deny that the WTC catastrophe played any role in the postponement.
While Sidewalks Of New York was made at $20 million, Big Trouble reportedly cost $60 million.
Among the bigger casualties is the Arnold Schwarzenegger starrer, Collateral Damage, (at $80 million), which has the action hero play a firefighter who takes on terrorists after his family is killed in a terrorist attack.
Schwarzenegger and the studio, Warner Brothers, were looking forward to its release -- the star hasn't had a hit in over four years and the latter has had a disappointing summer.
Warner's Steven Spielberg film, A I: Artificial Intelligence, did a mild $80 million business in North America, though it was a smash hit in Japan, where it is expected to gross at least $90 million.
The Time Machine, an adaptation of H G Wells' classic and a Warner film, will not open as scheduled on Christmas Day.
Produced in collaboration with Spielberg's DreamWorks, the film will open in February. According to Daily Variety, this will give its makers time to alter scenes that show pieces of the moon falling on Manhattan.
DreamWorks denies that the postponement has anything to do with the WTC attacks, adding that the decision was taken before September 11. "The decision was made to give the film a better chance at the competition," says a DreamWorks spokesman. But studio bosses also told reporters that the moon sequence was being edited out.
A few studios are even considering changing key sequences shot in New York. Among these films is the Al Pacino vehicle, People I Know. The thespian plays a New York publicist wandering around WTC, high on drugs and undergoing severe hallucinatory experiences involving the Twin Towers.
"It is an abstract, highly stylish shot that is inappropriate and will be removed from the film," producer Leslie Urdang told the media. "We know that some other shots of the landscape will also have to be reviewed."
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