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The Watch (2012)
The Ben Stiller/Vince Vaughn comedy released its first trailer in February of 2012 and a teaser poster of a bullet-riddled neighborhood watch sign. Fast forward one month later, when Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by neighborhood watch member George Zimmerman in Florida. The producers immediately pulled all media from Florida, switched the film's name (originally named Neighborhood Watch) to The Watch, and changed the tone of future trailers to highlight a sci-fi slant - the first trailer had Jonah Hill pretending to shoot teens with a gun.
Collateral Damage (2002)
A Los Angeles firefighter's family is killed in a terrorist bomb plot, and he goes on a mission of vengeance. By the end of the film, it's said he'll receive the Medal of Freedom "for preventing one of the worst terrorist attacks in U.S. history from taking place." Collateral Damage was originally planned for release in October of 2001, until the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 occurred. The film was pushed back until February, and a scene featuring Sofia Vergara as an airplane hijacker was cut.
Big Trouble (2002)
Unfortunately for this ensemble comedic cast, a plot involving a WMD being smuggled on a plane was too scandalous following the attacks on 9/11. The film was pushed back from its September 21 date, and was forgotten by the time it hit theaters in April of 2002. Ironically, Sofia Vergara has a role in this film as well.
A film based on the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, this film about talking with the dead was immediately pulled from Japanese theaters after their country was struck by their own catastrophic tsunami.
Phone Booth (2002)
This suspense thriller about a sniper holding a man hostage in a phone booth was originally set to be released in November 2002 but had to be pushed back several months due to the Beltway sniper attacks. Ten people were killed over the course of 3 weeks and 15 sniper attacks.
V for Vendetta (2005)
Originally set for November 5, 2005 (the 400th anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot, which holds significance for the film), V for Vendetta was pushed back to the following March. Many assume that this is due to the July London bombings, but the film-makers claim it was to finish visual effects production.
The in-school gun violence of O (a modern take on Othello) was going to be controversial anyway, but film-makers pulled it following the 1999 tragedy in Columbine, Colorado. Producers shelved the film for 2 years.
Gone Baby Gone (2007)
The film that brought Casey Affleck's acting chops to light was also uncomfortably similar in plot to the real-life abduction of Madeleine McCann. The film was pushed back several months in the UK and in Malaysia, the latter of which was going through its own child abduction crisis.
The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)
You couldn't tell from the trailers, but this odd comedy features a scene in which a disturbed soldier fires at training troops in Fort Bragg. The film was released a day after Major Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 people at Fort Hood, and it was too late to edit the film.
Sex and the City 2 (2010)
Some would argue any time is a poor time to release a Sex and the City sequel, but the idea of four women gallivanting about one of the richest countries in the world (Abu Dhabi) wasn't alluring while most of the world suffered a deep economic downturn. While unemployment skyrocketed, people generally don't want to watch rich actors enjoy time at a place where someone could build an ivory tower… literally.
The Illusionist (2006)
The Illusionist/The Prestige - These two films, both about turn-of-the-century magicians, were released within a month of one another. Unfortunately for The Illusionist, The Prestige started with a wide release in October on the back of Christopher Nolan's growing popularity as a director.
Shark Tale (2004)
Shark Tale/Finding Nemo - It's no secret that films made for children are also films made to sell toys. Finding Nemo is considered one of Pixar's greatest movies, and it probably sold tons of toys featuring its aquatic characters. That was the unfortunate reality of "CGI-Kid-Movie rival" DreamWorks, who released Shark Tale about a year later. The kids already had their bath toys, and parents could pop in Nemo on DVD (best-selling of all-time).
Deep Impact (1998)
Deep Impact/Armageddon - 1998 was the "Year of the Meteor" thanks to these two flicks. Deep Impact was probably more scientifically accurate, Armageddon had an Aerosmith ballad. Deep Impact made less money, Armageddon is on Roger Ebert's most hated films. Make your choice.
Red Planet (2000)
Red Planet/Mission to Mars - Both movies came out five months of each other in 2000, both were about missions to the planet with something going horribly wrong, even though Red Planet came out first in November in the end Mission to Mars made more money at the box office
Volcano/Dante's Peak - Both movies came out three months of each other in 1997 with Dante's Peak beating Volcano to the punch. Dante's peak stared both Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton with their volcano erupting in a small mountain town where Volcano's eruption happened in Downtown Los Angeles and had Tommy Lee Jones saving the day. In the end Dante's Peak came out the winner making more money than Volcano
This brilliant dark comedy's first test screening was scheduled for November 22, 1963, the day of the John F. Kennedy assassination. The film was pushed back from its release to January. A line referencing Dallas, where Kennedy was killed, was changed to Vegas. The infamous pie scene was cut for several reasons, but many believe it was mainly due to the line "Gentlemen! Our gallant young president has been struck down in his prime!" after a pie hits The President in the face.
Gangster Squad (2013)
Originally set for a September 7th 2012 release date the movie which is set in 1949 Los Angeles and is centered around a crew of LAPD officers who go outside the law in order to take down one of LA's ruthless mobsters Mickey Cohen. However in the wake of the Dark Knight Rises Midnight release theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado trailers for the movie were pulled not only from theaters but websites such as Youtube as well because it features a key scene in which mobsters open fire on a theater audience from behind a movie screen and automatic gunfire rips through the screen as horrified filmgoers rush for the exits and police try to stop the mayhem. Also because of the Colorado shooting studio executives decided to recut the film to minimize the theater shooting scene or otherwise remove it all together. Because of the rewrite the movie was pushed back from its original release date, Gangster Squad is now set to release January 11, 2013
No one can look into the future, and not everyone can have good luck. While many films have a smooth release, these particular pictures were marred by similar real-life occurrences - or fellow movies with matching plots.