September 11th, 2001 was a day that changed the world forever. It was a horrible tragedy. The entertainment industry was very affected by the attacks, as they say, “the show must go on.” But even if it goes on, television, film and other media must remain sensitive to viewers, as it could be a public relations disaster otherwise. The first way the media was affected was that news coverage ran 24 hours a day, even for days after the attacks. Every sector of the industry had to reevaluate, from Broadway, to video games, professional sports and even awards shows. Many projects were delayed, altered or simply had to be cancelled all together. Here are ten ways entertainment was changed by 9/11. From minor shots deleted, to entire scenes of a big blockbuster film having to be rewritten, and even kids entertainment, you can probably guess some of these, but there are others you probably had no idea about.
To release Spider-Man, Sony had to edit the film, as well as change the marketing and promotional material. In the trailer (but not in the film), there was a scene showing Spider-Man grabbing a helicopter between the two Towers, which had to be deleted. There was also a shot of the Towers in the first cut of the film, which film makers had to remove. In the spirit of patriotism, a shot of Spider-Man hanging onto a flag-pole with a huge American flag was added to the film. Sony also had to recall teaser posters ,which showed a close-up of Spider-Man’s face along the New York Skyline, which was reflected in his eyes. The Twin Towers were a part of that skyline. These posters are now considered highly valuable collectors items.
9. Men in Black II
Men In Black II had to be changed in several ways because of the attacks, even resulting in a new ending. The original ending of the film had the Towers open up and release a swarm of UFOs into the air. This scene was so significant, that deleting it shortened the running time. So, how did producers make up for it? They ran extra trailers before the movie began and also showed the Oscar winning short cartoon, The Chubbchubbs. You can watch the deleted scene on the DVD extras.
8. Lilo & Stitch
When a children’s movie has to be edited because of a terrorist attack, you know the world has changed as well. In the third act of the adorable Disney film, Stitch, Nani, Jumba and Pleakley hijack a Boeing 747 from the Lihue Airport, and fly it through downtown Honolulu in order to save Lilo. Because the scene paralleled the attacks in what was truly an awful coincidence, the producers found it was probably a good idea to revise this scene, so that it would perhaps, not trigger the emotions of the audience (not to mention, it would be a terrible PR move). The revised scene had Stitch fly a spaceship through the mountains of Kaua’i, instead of the plane. The transition was so smooth that animators didn’t even need to scrap the scene. They seamlessly replaced the CGI 747 with Jumba’s spaceship.
7. Prozac Nation
Prozac Nation, starring Christina Ricci, was filmed in 2000 and was set for release in late 2001, but the film sat on the shelf for four years. Shortly after the attacks, Elizabeth Wurtzel, who wrote the bestselling memoir that the movie was based upon, made an unwise and very shocking statement in an interview. She said:
“I had not the slightest emotional reaction. I thought: ‘This is a really strange art project.’ It was a most amazing sight in terms of sheer elegance. It fell like water. It just slid, like a turtleneck going over someone’s head. I just felt, like, everyone was overreacting. People were going on about it. That part really annoyed me.”
Wurtzel lived 50 yards from the Towers and was reportedly still very much in shock when she made that statement, three months after the attacks. Angry and upset, Mirimax distanced itself from the project and the film was ultimately released in 2005 on the Starz! Network, after the Weinstein brothers exited the company.
6. People I Know
You probably don’t know about People I Know, which is a crime-drama starring Al Pacino, Kim Basinger and Téa Leoni. Released in 2002, it was loosely based on the life of New York City press agent, Bobby Zarem. One of the subplots of the film was critical about the mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani. While he didn’t always have a perfect reputation, Giuliani’s swift action and handling of 9/11 redeemed him in the eyes of many New Yorkers, so it’s easy to understand why the film had a delayed release. In addition, two scenes that featured shots of the towers were deleted from the film.
5. The Lone Gunman
The Lone Gunman was a spinoff of the hit series, The X Files. It aired from March 4, 2001- June 1, 2001. The premise of the show was similar to its predecessor, it was about conspiracy theories, but instead of supernatural conspiracy theories, it was about governmental ones. The show was supposed to be back for another season, but was cancelled due to 9/11. Why? The plot of the pilot episode was about a government conspiracy to hijack an airplane, fly it into the World Trade Center, and then put the blame on terrorists, in order to obtain support for a profit making war. The parallels were so bizarrely uncanny, it would be highly insensitive to bring the show back. Consequently, The X Files was also cancelled.
4. Broadway Lights Dimmed
From September 11th to September 13th, all Broadway shows were cancelled and the lights were dimmed, in wake of the attacks. As they say, “the show must go on,” and it certainly did.
3. Video Games
Many video games were affected by the terrorist attacks. One of these was Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro. It’s final level was changed from a showdown between Spider-Man and Electro, atop the World Trade Center, to a showdown on just an unnamed building. The New York City skyline, previously visible, was also obscured by a storm, so the World Trade Center wouldn’t be so obvious. Another video game that was changed was Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. The plot of the game was centered around (you guessed it) a terrorist attack of New York City. They decided to release the game with the same plot, but removed footage of the Twin Towers and the Financial District neighborhood.
2. Sesame Street
Children were greatly affected by 9/11 in so many ways. The issues that came along with such a life changing event were bravely presented in the long-running television show, Sesame Street in not just one, but two episodes. One episode was about Elmo being traumatized by a grease fire at Hooper’s Store. When he meets some real life firefighters, Elmo learns to calm down. Another episode was about Big Bird’s pen pal Gulliver, who doesn’t believe that birds should be friendly to other species.
Nosebleed was supposed to be an action/comedy/romance movie, starring Jackie Chan and directed by Renny Harlin, who is perhaps most famous for directing Die Hard. The plot? A World Trade Center window washer (played by Chan) learns about a terrorist plot to destroy the World Trade Center. However, it has been rumored that it was actually the Statue of Liberty and not the World Trade Center. Filming was actually supposed to occur on 9/11 at the Towers, but because the final draft of the script was delayed, Chan rescheduled the film and headed to Toronto to shoot The Tuxedo instead. While there was discussion of re-working the script, Nosebleed was ultimately scrapped and cancelled.