For many people, the images of commercial airliners hitting the Twin Towers, and of Manhattan engulfed in a huge dust cloud as they collapsed, looked like a Hollywood apocalypse-style movie.
But despite that — or maybe in part because of it — 9/11 has not generated as large a number of movies as previous epochal events such as World War II or Vietnam.
Industry insiders say experience shows that 9/11 movies just don’t work at the box office — adding that the attacks may even have pushed Tinsel Town to produce even more escapist movies than it normally would.
In the decade since, only two Hollywood studios have produced films directly inspired by the most deadly attacks ever on US soil, Universal with “United 93” by Paul Greengrass and Paramount with Oliver Stone’s “World Trade Center.”This despite an initial surge of Hollywood interest following the September 11, 2001 attacks in Washington and New York.
“There was certainly an enormous amount of interest in 9/11 and the wars that happened afterwards,” said producer Bonnie Curtis, who has worked on films including Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan.”
“I think that creatively, a lot of people started working on a material that normally wouldn’t even exist without the event itself,” she told AFP. But there were also fairly quickly doubts about public appetite for films about such a traumatic event.
“There was a lot of conversation between all of us, like ‘Is it too soon’ to make a film about the events, will audiences have any interest in going and seeing that?,” Curtis said.
The answer was clear: “United 93” and “World Trade Center” were both relative box office failures when they came out in 2006. The first made $74 million worldwide, the second $161 million, modest numbers for Hollywood.
Source code (AFP)