Hollywood shouldn’t cash in on Sept. 11

Is it too soon for people to watch the brave but chilling tale of those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001? Why open healing wounds and sprinkle salt into them?

Come August, Nicholas Cage will star in World Trade Center, which is about “two Port Authority police officers (who) become trapped under the rubble of the World Trade Center,” according to the Internet Movie Database.

However, the movie on everyone’s mind is United 93. Slated for an April 28 release, the haunting trailer being played before such movies as V for Vendetta and The Inside Man is leaving entire audiences silent. The simple but moving poster with the tagline “September 11, 2001. Four planes were hijacked. Three of them reached their target. This is the story of the fourth,” has mournful eyes on it.

Why now? It’s only been five years. The most obvious reason is money. The movie industry is not interested in honoring the memory of these brave souls; it would like to make as much money and to win as many awards as possible. The movie studios are banking, literally, on the human nature of desire to see these real-life ghastly events replayed in dramatic form. Note this year’s big Oscar winners, Crash and Brokeback Mountain, both had their share of controversy and debate.

Controversy is probably the best publicity movies can receive. Debates about these Sept. 11 movies have been on many major news channels, such as CNN, so the free publicity machine is doing its job. One of the points consistently brought up is that the release of these films may come too soon for some, but is acceptable as long as the families of the victims are at ease.

In the Entertainment Weekly article “Crisis Management,” Missy Schwartz wrote that Universal, the studio that produced United 93, “is moving to insulate itself from criticism, securing the blessing of all the families of Flight 93.” Yet not too far from thought is the profit the studio stands to make. Later in Schwartz’s article, Universal’s marketing president Adam Fogelson is quoted as saying, “Nobody’s telling me to figure out a way to sell one more ticket. The pressure is to do justice to the story and make sure the families are comfortable. If that has been accomplished and the movie makes 5 cents, I will be OK.”

Movies such as Pearl Harbor and Titanic were made approximately 50 years after the disastrous events they portrayed, while United 93 and World Trade Center are coming out only five years after the event. It seems tactless, but whatever it takes to get Hollywood out of its money drought. They have the support of the families and organizations, but it still does not help the pain that is still inside their hearts.

If this is the way movie studios are moving in their choice in productions, then be prepared in a few years for Katrina: The Musical starring Kanye West.