Pic plotlines rethought as prod'ns, agencies shut down
For a couple of high-profile Hollywood pics, plotlines may now be too horribly close to the reality of Tuesday’s tragic events.
Warner Bros.’ “Collateral Damage” may in fact become just that in the wake of the worst terrorist attack ever on American soil. Studio execs planned to meet today to discuss the now-problematic release of the terrorist-themed thriller.
Set for an Oct. 5 launch, pic stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as a man whose family is killed in front of him when a downtown skyscraper is hit by a massive bomb blast.
Pic’s title refers to innocent people who lose their lives as the result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
In ‘Big Trouble’
And Barry Sonnenfeld’s comedy “Big Trouble,” starring Tim Allen and Rene Russo, has been summarily pushed back from its Sept. 21 release. The Touchstone pic centers around a mysterious suitcase, which turns out to be a bomb that ends up on a plane.
Touchstone has also canceled this weekend’s junket for “Big Trouble.”
Meanwhile, production on other, less-problematic pics was also temporarily halted.
The Sonnenfeld-helmed “Men in Black 2,” which is set and was partially lensed in New York, was skedded to continue shooting on Sony’s soundstages in Culver City Tuesday. That production too has been suspended.
Fox’s animated pic “The Ice Age” was held up at Blue Sky Studios, headquartered in White Plains, N.Y. It is unclear when production will resume.
The tragedies did not halt production for DreamWorks, which had only one pic shooting.
The actioner “The Tuxedo” starring Jackie Chan continued lensing in Toronto where DreamWorks production topper Walter Parkes and executive Michael Grillo were on location.
All of DreamWorks’ other unfinished films — “Time Machine,” “The Last Castle” “Minority Report” and “The Road to Perdition” — were in post-production and as such would not likely see their release dates affected.
Meanwhile, Hollywood’s major studios and talent agencies almost universally closed their doors Tuesday morning as word of the tragic events in New York and Washington swept through West Coast offices.
Universal, Fox, Sony, Paramount, MGM, DreamWorks and Warner Bros. all shut down Tuesday, though many studio switchboards were open to give both employees and external callers the news.
Universal and Disney both closed their theme parks, though the latter did not shutter any of its operations outside the U.S.
Disney’s Burbank-based lot remained open to employees wishing to come into work on an optional basis Tuesday.
Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema encouraged its employees to go home Tuesday, although Warners kept its day care and cafeteria services open to serve a skeleton staff.
Universal set up a toll-free hotline for employees to check, though senior representatives indicated the studio was expected to reopen for business as usual today.
As for their offices in Gotham, Warners confirmed that a handful of employees who worked in the Warner Bros. retail store on the first floor of the World Trade Center all escaped unharmed. Disney, Par and Universal’s N.Y. facilities are farther uptown and were not affected by the blast.
William Morris, ICM, CAA, UTA and Endeavor all closed their doors as well. It remained unclear when the tenpercenteries planned to reopen.
(Jonathan Bing, Claude Brodesser, Cathy Dunkley, Michael Fleming, Marc Graser, Melissa Grego, Dade Hayes and Tim Swanson contributed to this report.)