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Sunday, Sep. 16, 2001 at 6:15 AM
Opening Of 2 Films Featuring Bombs Or
Fall TV seasons postponed on NBC
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 13, 2001 (Reuters) Reality hit home in Hollywood as
studios delayed release of two major films featuring bombs or terrorists
-including Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Collateral Damage" - and yanked ads
for"Spider-Man" a day after the deadliest attacks in U.S. history.
Executives at the nation's major television networks, too, reconsidered their fall
TV schedules with one, NBC, deciding to postpone fall premieres altogether
by at least a week to make way for ongoing news coverage of the attacks on the
World Trade Center and the Pentagon, which may have left thousands dead.
Walt Disney Co.'s Touchstone Pictures postponed the September 21
premiere of comedy film "Big Trouble," starring Tim Allen, and AOL Time
Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros. delayed its October 5 release of "Collateral
Damage," in which Schwarzenegger goes after terrorists.
Neither studio set new debut dates for the movies.
Based on a novel by humorist Dave Barry, "Big Trouble" follows a group of
people who find a mysterious suitcase leading to a terrorist plot revolving
around a black-market nuclear bomb, shady businessmen, FBI agents and hit
A two-sentence statement from Touchstone cited the "national tragedy that
occurred" as the reason for the delay.
In "Collateral Damage," Schwarzenegger portrays a fireman who sees his wife
and son die in the terrorist bombing of a building. But when he travels to South
America to avenge the deaths, he finds himself caught up in political intrigue.
Similarly, Warner Bros. issued a statement citing "yesterday's tragic events" as a
reason for its action.
Sony Pictures Entertainment, a division of Japan's Sony Corp., pulled from
theaters trailers for next May's "Spider-Man" in which bank robbers are caught in
a web spun between the World Trade Center towers. Sony also recalled
posters in which the towers are shown in a reflection of the comic book hero's
On U.S. airwaves, Disney's ABC television network canceled a planned
broadcast Saturday of the 1997 thriller "The Peacemaker," which involves
"It just didn't seem appropriate at this time," network spokeswoman Annie Fort
said. ABC instead will air the romantic comedy "Hope Floats," starring Sandra
Bullock and Harry Connick Jr., and an episode of "America's Funniest Home
Likewise, Fox is bumping a Sunday broadcast of the 1996 hit film
"Independence Day," in which aliens destroy the White House and New York's
Empire State Building, and instead will air a repeat of "That '70s Show" and the
film comedy "Mrs. Doubtfire," a network spokesman said.
And Friday, Fox will replace the feature-length "X-Files" movie, which includes a
scene of an office building blowing up, with the romantic comedy "Nine Months,"
starring Hugh Grant and Julianne Moore.
But the biggest development in television came with NBC's announcement to
push back its heavily promoted premiere week of new shows to September
24 from the planned September 17.
"In light of the recent tragic events in our country, NBC has decided to postpone
the premieres of the network's fall prime-time programs ... Further
developments could alter this plan," the network said in a brief statement.
ABC and CBS executives also were contemplating postponing the premieres
of returning series and new shows next week due to the heavy demand for
news, network officials said.
The smaller Fox network is less affected because its fall lineup follows a more
staggered schedule with many new shows not slated to debut for several
All major networks said they were taking a hard look at their fall shows to
safeguard against content that might seem insensitive in light of Tuesday's
A number of upcoming shows feature stories that may strike too close to recent
events, including several CIA-themed dramas -- ABC's "Alias," CBS' "The
Agency" and Fox's "24."
NBC's fall lineup also includes the espionage-themed new drama "UC
Undercover." Another NBC show likely to draw network scrutiny is a five-hour
miniseries slated to run across the three editions of NBC's "Law & Order" that
centers on an act of terrorism against the United States.
CBS is a unit of Viacom Inc., and Fox is a division of Fox Entertainment Group
Inc., which is controlled by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Ltd.
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