July 18, 2014 9:13 am
Updated: July 18, 2014 9:16 am

Bad timing for movies about wildfires, tornadoes?

A scene from the movie 'Into the Storm', opening Aug. 8.

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TORONTO — Movies about wildfires and tornadoes are landing in cinemas this summer at the same time, in the U.S. and Canada, wildfires are raging and communities are cleaning up from tornadoes.

Only time will tell if people want to pay money to see the same images of destruction in theatres that they can see for free on the nightly TV news.

Disney just released Planes: Fire and Rescue, an animated feature about firefighting aircraft trying to save Piston Peak National Park from a raging wildfire.

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Its debut is particularly awkward because it comes one day after a Malaysian airliner was shot down over Ukraine, killing nearly 300 people.

Planes: Fire and Rescue is also playing as wildfires are burning in Canada’s west and northwest and parts of the U.S.

On Aug. 8, New Line releases Into the Storm, an effects-driven disaster flick that follows daring storm chasers in a town hit by an unprecedented number of tornadoes.

Tornadoes recently ripped through communities in Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario — and south of the border.

It’s not the first time Hollywood has had to deal with bad timing as its art imitates life.

Liam Neeson’s terror-on-a-plane movie Non-Stop opened on Feb. 28, 2014 in first place at the box office but then suffered a drop of more than 40 per cent following the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight 370.

The movie managed to earn only $92 million in the U.S. and Canada.

A number of films were delayed or altered in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

Scenes showing the Twin Towers were deleted from Spider-Man; Zoolander, Serendipity and Kissing Jessica Stein.

Here are three movies that were dealt a blow by a real-life events:

GANGSTER SQUAD

On July 20, 2012, a gunman opened fire inside a Colorado movie theatre during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises, killing 12 and injuring dozens more.

Warner Bros. responded to the horrific incident by pulling trailers and commercials for its crime drama Gangster Squad, which included a scene in which gangsters open fire with machine guns in a movie theatre.

The studio also bumped the film’s release, which was scheduled for Sept. 7, to January 2013.

Gangster Squad opened in third place and went on to earn only $46 million in the U.S. and Canada.

 

PHONE BOOTH

This psychological thriller about a man held hostage in a phone booth by a sniper was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2002 and was due in theatres on Nov. 15, 2002.

Following the sniper attacks in Washington, D.C. and Maryland — in which 10 people were killed — 20th Century Fox decided to delay the movie’s release until April 2013.

 

GONE BABY GONE

Ben Affleck’s drama about the abduction of a four-year-old girl opened as scheduled in October 2007 in North America.

Its December release in the UK, though, was pushed to June 2008 in light of the disappearance of three-year-old Madeleine McCann.

In an eerie coincidence, one of the young characters in Gone Baby Gone is named Madeline.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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