DreamWorks' upcoming adaptation of the H.G. Wells' sci-fi classic The Time Machine, starring Guy Pearce, was transported from its Christmas Day opening to February 8. The move gives filmmakers more time to alter a scene that shows pieces of the moon falling on Manhattan, according to Daily Variety.
Officially, however, the studio says the delay takes the film out of the ultracompetitive holiday slate. "At Christmas time, it is a very crowded weekend. So we felt since it's a very effects-laden film, we'd push it back to give the film a better chance at the competition," says a DreamWorks spokesman. The rep also stresses that the decision to move it was made prior to the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Meanwhile, producers of the upcoming Al Pacino vehicle, People I Know, are trying to figure out what to do with a sequence involving images of the World Trade Center.
In the drama, which was filmed earlier this year in the Big Apple, Pacino plays a New York publicist who wanders around the financial district while high on drugs and has trippy hallucinations involving the Twin Towers.
In one shot, the buildings appear to be shooting upward into the sky. But in the next, they are turned sideways. That's followed by a shot of Pacino passed out in bed after another binge of pills and booze--the idea obviously being that his character's world has been turned upside down.
After the tragedy, however, producers say the disturbing footage is out of place and would invoke horrible memories of the attack that destroyed the landmark towers and killed thousands of people.
"It is an abstract, highly stylish shot that is completely inappropriate and will be removed from the film," producer Leslie Urdang told Daily Variety. "We've known in our minds that and some other shots of the landscape would have to be reviewed, but this is the first day we've gotten a chance to look at it."
Complicating matters, director Dan Algrant lives just five blocks from "ground zero" and hasn't been able to gain access to the film's editing room, which is also nearby.
In the aftermath of last Tuesday's attack on America, studios immediately scrambled to juggle their film schedules to avoid giving even the slightest appearance of tastelessness to the tragedies.
As previously reported, Warner Bros.' indefinitely postponed its Arnold Schwarzenegger-versus-terrorists action flick Collateral Damage and Disney pulled the Tim Allen comedy Big Trouble because is contains a bomb scene at an airport.
Other flicks, like the Denzel Washington vehicle Training Day and Ed Burns' romantic comedy Sidewalks of New York, were pushed back to give the studios time to properly market them.
Meanwhile, some good news for the Big Apple's film community:
The mayor's office resumed issuing permits for shooting around Manhattan on Tuesday, with the exception of the financial district. The office, which had been shut down following the catastrophe, was previously taking only reservations for lensing but was not issuing permits because of the lack of police officers who were busy handling the crisis.
"The mayor wants all business back and running, and we think we can do it," office director Pat Scott told Variety. "We will be prepared to work completely as normal by the end of the month. By the time productions such as Men in Black 2, Spider-Man and Stuart Little 2 come back to the city, we'll be ready for them."