Disaster becomes a disaster for studios

Warner Bros. said Wednesday that it has decided not only to postpone indefinitely the release of Collateral Damage, scheduled for Oct. 5, but also to remove all billboards for the film — an unprecedented move. The movie concerns a fireman, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, seeking the terrorists who killed his family. “We don’t want to be insensitive to a nation in mourning,” producer Steven Reuther told today’s Wall Street Journal.

In London, Odeon Cinemas, acting at the request of Warner Bros., pulled the movie Swordfish, starring John Travolta, from its theaters. A spokesman told the BBC: “It’s been done at the distributor’s request and it’s a position that Odeon totally supports.” Filmmakers suggested that movies with terrorist themes are likely to be put on hold for the indefinite future. Producer John Davis (Daylight, Behind Enemy Lines) told the WSJ: “Once it becomes reality and not fantasy, it ceases to be entertaining.” The newspaper also commented that MGM’s Nosebleed, which was to have starred Jackie Chan, definitely “won’t see the light of day as originally written.” Chan was to have played a window washer at the World Trade Center who becomes involved in a terrorist plot to destroy the statue of Liberty.