TV Shows And Films That Accidentally Foreshadowed Real World Tragedies

by : Tom Percival on : 29 Jul 2016 11:27

While cinema and television offer a wonderful form of escapism from our normal lives, sometimes the silver screen can come awkwardly close to terrible real world events.


In France for example the Idris Elba action film, Bastille Day, has been pulled from cinemas after the horrific events in Nice just over two weeks ago.

After the events StudioCanal stopped adverts for the film and cancelled the release altogether, commenting that the movie was ‘not in line with the national mood’, the BBC reports.

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Lisa Nesselson, a Paris based film journalist who saw Bastille Day in a French cinema after the Nice attack, isn’t sure about the decision to pull the film.


She said: 

I don’t know if films are delayed or pulled out of respect for terror victims, because it’s assumed that nobody will be in the mood to see that topic or a little of both.

I might be in favour of changing television programming in deference to a violent national event, but I find it much harder to grasp why a movie that requires an individual to make the decision to pay to get in should be punished for being about the ‘wrong’ thing at a particular moment in time.

World Trade Center AttackedWorld Trade Center AttackedGetty

This is far from the first time this has happened and part of the struggle of producing a TV or film is the uncertainty surrounding making a movie, especially when horrible world events can make the whole project seem distasteful.

For example, back in late 2001 Sam Raimi was working with Sony on putting the finishing touches on the first Spider-Man film and the studio had even released an exciting trailer.

Unfortunately no one could have predicted the events that happened on September 11 2001, which had a huge impact on the production of the film.

A trailer of the Web-head trapping a helicopter between the twin towers was immediately pulled from cinemas and a similar scene was cut from the movie.


Spider-Man wasn’t the only movie affected by the atrocious attack, both Men in Black 2 and Zoolander also made similar edits.

TV was also affected by the events of 9/11, the producers of Friends were forced to pull an entire storyline soon after the attack which would have seen Chandler joke about a bomb at the airport and get detained because of it.

The storyline was quickly replaced with a less offensive story and it took years for the footage, that had already been filmed, to be released on the box set.

Risk averse studios also bumped an upcoming TV show, Shooter, back until august when it became clear that the programme, which focused on a U.S. sniper, was distasteful after a number of high-profile shootings.

Here in the UK, Gone Baby Gone was due to be released in October 2007 but the film was pushed back by several months following the disappearance of Madeline McCann.


Producers believed that the film, which follows two detectives trying to figure out the disappearance of a young girl, was in poor taste following the McCann case.

While horrific events can have a negative effect on films and television their are some positives as well.

After 9/11 for example although many films were shelved it did lead to the success of Amelie as the sweet and uplifting film offered a degree of escape from the real world.

Tom Percival

More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism. Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV. He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.

Topics: Film and TV


  1. BBC

    How real-life tragedy can alter the course of films and TV