Top 10 Movies Impacted By Real-Life Events

Hollywood pumps out countless films of all genres. However, sometimes the studios are unlucky enough to release films that contain insensitive material in light of real-life tragedies. These events have not only caused a marketing change, but change of entire scenes and even prompted the cancellation of such ill-fated projects as well. Join, as we count down top 10 movies impacted by real-life events.

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Top 10 Movies Impacted By Real-Life Events

Sometime the worlds of reality and fiction don’t just meet, they collide. Welcome to, and today we’ll be counting down the top 10 movies impacted by real-life events.

#10 – “Teaching Mrs. Tingle” (1999)

Kicking off our list is the unfortunate film production that coincided with the Columbine High School shooting. After that massacre claimed the lives of 12 students and one teacher, there was intense public outcry against teen violence. The studio decided to delay and rename their dark comedy, then titled “Killing Mrs. Tingle,” as it centered on a teen’s plan to off her teacher in order to become school valedictorian.

#9 – “Steamboat Bill Jr.” (1928)

The oldest film on our list, this silent comedy is the story of a steamboat captain whose son joins his crew. The movie’s original script had it ending with a flood; however, when a real-life flood devastated Mississippi, writer and star Buster Keaton made the last-minute decision to change the destructive weather phenomenon to a cyclone, to avoid any association by the audience.

#8 – “GI Joe: Retaliation” (2013)

Despite a strong and expensive existing marketing campaign, this sequel was delayed a full ten months from its original release date. The real-world reason? Channing Tatum. Originally, he was killed off in the film’s first reel, but he suddenly became a major box office draw. This meant they needed to reshoot scenes to keep his character alive, well, and – most importantly – available for future sequels.

#7 – “Brüno” (2009)

You wouldn’t expect this unapologetic satirical comedy about a gay Austrian fashion reporter to pull any punches. However, when Michael Jackson died the same day as its Hollywood premiere, filmmakers scrambled to re-cut it. Out of respect, they removed a prank in which Brüno mocked Jackson’s sister LaToya, while compelling her to eat sushi off the body of a naked Mexican man. But don’t worry: the scene eventually reemerged as a DVD bonus feature.

#6 – “The Time Machine” (2002)

This loose adaptation of H.G. Wells’ iconic sci-fi novel features an apocalyptic depiction of 2037 New York. However, the film was delayed so they could make changes to that scene: debris from the disintegrating moon was originally seen falling and impacting buildings in a fashion reminiscent of 9/11-camcorder footage. For sensitivity’s sake, those impacts were digitally replaced with lava rising from the ground. We guess that makes sense?

#5 – “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” (2009)

This film was one-third complete when actor Heath Ledger tragically passed away. Due to his popularity from the previous year’s “The Dark Knight,” Terry Gilliam was allowed to transform it into a fond farewell by casting three of Ledger’s friends, Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell, as separate versions of his character. Incredibly, this gamble worked seamlessly due to the film’s dream setting.

#4 – “Dr. Strangelove” (1964)

Stanley Kubrick was set to debut his new comedy to the press on November 22nd, 1963; however, he cancelled following the assassination of President Kennedy due to the new eerie distastefulness of several gags. He subsequently edited the phrase “a fella could have a pretty good weekend in Dallas,” by swapping the location for Vegas, and cut a pie-throwing sequence featuring the line “our beloved President has been struck down in his prime.”

#3 – “Gangster Squad” (2013)

After the mass shooting tragedy during a midnight premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colorado, the trailer for “Gangster Squad” was pulled because it featured a gunfight scene set in a movie theater. Keeping the section unaltered in the feature seemed insensitive, so Warner Bros. considered altering the film and delayed its release to incorporate a less controversial gunfight.

#2 – “Spider-Man” (2001)

As illustrated in earlier examples, 9/11 had a sweeping impact on Hollywood. The World Trade Center featured prominently in the trailer and poster for “Spider-Man,” but those shots were all carefully removed from the final film – including a scene where the hero traps a helicopter in a net between the two towers. “Men in Black II” was similarly altered, as the original ending featured UFOs emerging from the World Trade Center structures.

#1 – “The Watch” (2012)

Taking the top spot on our list is Hollywood’s worst case of bad timing. This raunchy sci-fi comedy, initially called “Neighborhood Watch,” had its title and marketing materials changed when neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot and killed Florida teen Trayvon Martin. Understandably, the studio did not want to draw the attention of outraged Americans. Just imagine marketing nightmare this poster prompted…

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