Twelve days after the release of Jane Fonda and Jack Lemmon's nuclear thriller, a partial meltdown occurred at the Three Mile Island nuclear facility in Pennsylvania. Due to mechanical and human error, unknown amounts of radioactive gases and radioactive iodine allowed to escape into the environment. Cleanup lasted fourteen years, and cost an estimated $1 billion.
Columbia Pictures attempted to avoid appearing as if it were exploiting the accident, and pulled the film from some theaters. Ironically, the film includes a line that describes how a nuclear accident would render "an area the size of Pennsylvania" permanently uninhabitable.
The film follows the young attendees of a space camp, who must return safely to Earth after their shuttle is accidently launched into orbit. But the timing couldn't have been worse: SPACE CAMP was released less than five months after the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, in which the shuttle exploded shortly after launch, killing all onboard.
SPACE CAMP was a box-office dud upon release and was panned by critics. Roger Ebert wrote, "Our thoughts about the Space Shuttle will never be the same again, and our memories are so painful that SPACE CAMP is doomed even before it begins."
BODY PARTS is a run-of-the-mill psychological thriller: a criminal psychologist loses his arm in a car accident and has it replaced with a limb that belonged to a serial killer. The psychologist soon endures gruesome visions of murder and his behavior becomes erratic, as the killer's impulses prove difficult to overcome.
Paramount pulled ads for the film in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, after police found dismembered bodies in the home of a mild-mannered chocolate factory worker named Jeffrey Dahmer. The ensuing media frenzy brought Dahmer into the spotlight, and the film came and went with barely a murmur.
O is a contemporary remake of Shakespeare's "Othello", set in an all-white Southern high school, and contains as much violence as the play: four teenagers are violently murdered over the course of the story.
The film's intended release date was April 1999, but life mirrored art too closely: that same month, the Columbine school shooting claimed the lives of twelve students and one teacher. O was shelved for two years, and was finally released in 2001.
In 1999, Jackie Chan was set to star in NOSEBLEED, as a window washer at the World Trade Center who stumbles upon and must thwart a terrorist plot. The film was almost ready to begin shooting when the 9/11 terrorist attacks destroyed the Twin Towers. NOSEBLEED was permanently cancelled.
After the attacks, rumors began to circulate the Chan would have been filming at the Towers on the morning of September 11th, had the screenwriter not missed a deadline and pushed the filming dates back. The rumors were eventually disproven.
The film adapts Dave Barry's novel about a hapless group of Miami citizens connected in various ways to a potential nuclear attack. BIG TROUBLE was originally scheduled for release on September 21, 2001, until 9/11 attacks made the film's comedic subject matter tonally inappropriate.
BIG TROUBLE was delayed nine months and the promotion campaign was toned down almost to the point of abandonment. Upon release, the film was ignored by audiences and received mixed reviews.
A sleazy publicist is held hostage in a phone booth by an unseen sniper – PHONE BOOTH did a lot with a little, but real-life events mirrored the story too closely: a month before release, the Beltway snipers began terrorizing Washington D.C., resulting in the deaths of ten people.
PHONE BOOTH was delayed four months, until after the killers were caught and media firestorm had cooled down.
(The 2013 movie BLUE CAPRICE tells the story of the Beltway snipers; a great, chilling look at the banality of evil.)
Isla Fisher's first starring role, the film glamourized high-spending and materialism at its most luxurious – at the height of the global financial crisis. The film's ending was reshot to make it more sympathetic to audiences during a time of economic recession.
Critically, the film was a failure (with many critics identifying its bad timing), but audiences were less resentful than expected and made the film a box-office success.
Clint Eastwood's film tells three parallel stories about three people affected by death in similar ways – all three have issues of communicating with the dead. One of the stories involves a French journalist who survives a near-death experience during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
The film premiered in Japan in February 2011, but was pulled from theaters a month later following the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami – the most powerful quake ever to hit the country. Warner Bros. admitted scenes depicting the tsunami were "not appropriate" for a nation recovering from its own catastrophe.
THE WATCH was originally titled NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH, and followed four neighbors who form a suburban watch group and uncover an alien plot threatening the world. Five months before the film's release, teenager Treyvon Martin was shot and killed by neighborhood-watch captain George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida.
As a result, the film's marketing campaign was adjusted and refocused on the sci-fi premise, instead of the film's leads. The film's trailer was pulled from Florida: one scene featured Jonah Hill imitating a gun with his hand pretending to shoot at teenagers. The film's title was changed to distance itself from the details of the shooting.
The Tom Cruise film was delayed a week following the Sandy Hook massacre, in which twenty children and six adults were slain by a gunman. The film opens with the shooting deaths of five random civilians by a sniper – who is seen setting his crosshairs on a woman and child.
Paramount cancelled the film's premiere and released the film quietly. Cruise and writer/director Christopher McQuarrie endorsed the decision: "Nobody should be celebrating anything 24 hours after a tragic event like that."
FIFA provided £16m of the film's £19m budget and was involved in its production every step of the way. The film illustrates the origins of FIFA and portrays the organization in a relentlessly positive light, shying away from the rumors of corruption that plague the group. FIFA's original title suggestions for the film were "Men of Legend" and "The Dreammakers".
The film's release occurred simultaneously with the 2015 FIFA corruption case, in which several current and former members of FIFA's executive committee were arrested for charges of corruption. FIFA president Sepp Blatter resigned, following repeated accusations of corruption – ironic, given the film's depiction of Blatter as an anti-corruption campaigner.
Actor Tim Roth has said that he asked the filmmakers: "Where's all the corruption in the script? Where is all the back-stabbing, the deals?" Roth said he attempted to convey these elements through his performance: "It was a tough one. I tried to slide in a sense of it, as much as I could get in there."
Dismissed as a "self-aggrandizing affair" and pure propaganda, UNITED PASSIONS was an incredible critical failure (holding a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and an even bigger box-office disaster, earning only $918 in its opening weekend in the U.S.