Top 5 examples of reality pre-empting the movies

San Andreas is going ahead despite the deadly coincidence of a Nepal earthquake. Other films had to be changed when real-life intervened

By Jay Stone


1.     San Andreas: The Dwayne Johnson movie about a devastating earthquake in California opens a month after the Nepal earthquake that killed 8,800 people. Warner Bros. has announced the opening will go ahead, but it will include in its promotional materials information about how to contribute to the Nepal relief fund.


2.     Hereafter: The 2011 Clint Eastwood movie — which includes a subplot about the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami — was withdrawn from movie theatres in Japan a few days after an earthquake and tsunami in that country. Warner Bros., coincidentally the distributor of that film as well, said the scenes were “not appropriate at this time.”


3.     Spider-Man: The 2002 film was the most prominent of 45 movies that was affected by the 9/11 attacks. Trailers were edited to eliminate a scene showing Spider-Man capturing a helicopter between the twin towers. In the actual film, a shot of the World Trade Center was deleted and a scene was added showing of Spider-Man with a large American flag. Other films that took out scenes of the WTC include The Bourne Identity, Zoolander, and Men In Black II.


4.     Dr. Strangelove: The 1963 Stanley Kubrick comedy about nuclear disaster was being edited just as President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. The film was changed to alter a line in which an actor says “a fella could have a pretty good weekend in Dallas with all that stuff” —“Dallas” became “Vegas” — and the legendary closing sequence, a pie fight, was cut because it was deemed inappropriate. There was also a line in the pie fight where the president is hit in the face and George C. Scott’s character says, “Our president has been struck down in his prime.”


5.     Gone Baby Gone: Ben Affleck’s 2007 directorial debut, about a four-year-old Boston girl who disappears, came out shortly after the disappearance of British girl Madeleine McCann in Portugal. In addition, the young actress who played the role bore a striking resemblance to little Madeleine. The movie was pulled from the London film festival and its general release was delayed.

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