List of audiovisual entertainment affected by the September 11, 2001 attacks

From Academic Kids

Sept. 11, 2001 attacks
Background history
September 11, 2001
Rest of September
Missing people
Foreign casualties
Rescue workers
Hijacked Airlines
American Airlines Flight 11
United Airlines Flight 175
American Airlines Flight 77
United Airlines Flight 93
Sites of destruction
World Trade Center
The Pentagon
Government response
World political effects
World economic effects
Airport security
Closings and cancellations
Audiovisual entertainment
Rescue and recovery effort
Financial assistance
Memorials and services
Slogans and terms
Misinformation and rumors
U.S. Congress Inquiry
9/11 Commission

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 had an important impact on the audiovisual entertainment business, not just in terms of television coverage.


Television coverage

Television coverage of the terrorist attacks was the longest uninterrupted news event in the history of U.S. television. The three major U.S. networks were on the air 93 hours uninterrupted from the moment news first came that the first plane hit the World Trade Center. Millions of shocked television viewers watching live pictures of the World Trade Center saw the second plane hit and both buildings come down. In order to keep up with the constant flood of information, CNN, which was the first network to break the news of the attacks, began running continuous updates in the form of a text crawl along the bottom of the screen. This was so well received by viewers that it became a permanent feature on CNN and was adopted by most other news channels.

For the first time since the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the television networks announced that there would be no commercials or entertainment programs for an indefinite time several hours after the attacks, because of feelings of a shocked nation, especially understanding that so much death and destruction were being seen live on television. It was the deadliest time in the history of television.

Like with the assassination, as people watched the television coverage, people refused to believe what had happened. The phrase that was heard over and over again was "it seemed just like a movie."

The television coverage had shocking effects on children. When asked for her thoughts on the attacks, First Lady Laura Bush responded with a very strong warning to parents: don't let your children see the pictures over and over, especially your young children, but even elementary school-aged children shouldn't be watching it all the time. She felt it was too frightening for them and warned that parents turn off the television so that children do not see the replays over and over again. [1] ( [2] (

Edited or Delayed Movies

Numerous movies were cancelled that were in production, and many movies were edited. The most common way of editing was to delete or obscure shots of the World Trade Center.

  • Trailers for the movie Spider-Man were edited so a scene (not in the movie) showing Spider Man capturing a helicopter between the towers was deleted. In the actual movie, a shot of the World Trade Center was deleted.
  • In the movie Zoolander, the WTC was digitally deleted.
  • The release of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Collateral Damage was postponed for 4 months. The movie featured a terrorist bombing in front of an L.A. building.
  • Many people wanted to change the name of the Lord of the Rings movie The Two Towers, however it was not.
  • The collapse of Barad-dr in the Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was carefuly done so it would not look like the collpase of the Twin Towers.
  • The film Big Trouble was postponed as well, because it involved a nuclear bomb being smuggled on board an aircraft.
  • A picture of the WTC on the poster for Sidewalks of New York was removed.
  • Shots of the WTC in Serendipity were digitally removed.
  • The 2002 film Men in Black II featured a climax that included the World Trade Center. The building was changed to the Chrysler Building.
  • The 2002 version of The Time Machine was held back because of a scene where a meteor shower destroys New York.
  • In Vanilla Sky, producers wanted director Cameron Crowe to remove shots of the WTC. He did not, and they remain in the movie.
  • Shots of the WTC in Kissing Jessica Stein were removed before its release.
  • The movie The Matrix was removed from sale for a short period of time, due to a scene involving a helicopter crashing into a skyscraper.
  • The movie A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, despite prominently featuring a badly damaged Twin Towers (albeit half submerged in water), was not edited.
  • The movie Gangs of New York (the Twin Towers was shown at the end), was not edited.
  • The ending to the 2002 animated movie Lilo and Stitch was edited from Stitch taking a 747 on a joyride, swerving around buildings, to Stitch taking a spaceship on a joyride swerving around mountains. The original ending will be shown on the Masterpiece/Special edition.

In all, about 45 films were edited or postponed because of September 11.

Cancelled Movies

TV Shows

  • Although it does not qualify as a series affected by 9/11, the pilot episode of the US series The Lone Gunmen (a spinoff of The X-Files) depicted a plan by terrorists to fly a hijacked airplane into the World Trade Center. The episode aired in the United States on March 4, 2001 and it aired in Australia less than two weeks before the 9/11 attacks, on August 30. The series was cancelled before 9/11, although it was not syndicated and did not receive DVD release until 2005, possibly due to the pilot episode.
  • An episode of The Simpsons entitled The City of New York Vs. Homer Simpson, which was partially set at the World Trade Center, was pulled from syndication by some carriers, though many are now showing it again.[3] ( Some individual carriers have removed World Trade Center scenes on their own, while the distributor of The Simpsons still releases the episode in full for syndication.
  • The TV show 24 featured an exploding plane. The shot of the plane blowing up was removed, confusing some viewers who were unsure if the subsequent flashes of light were from the plane or from dawn - which should not have been occurring, given the episode was set at 1AM. The premiere was postponed from October to November.
  • On The Agency, the pilot episode (about terrorism) was replaced with the fifth episode.
  • On the popular Nickelodeon cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants, the show had received higher ratings than usual after the attacks. Most of the people said that "The show was the only healing process for children and many adults" who were emotionally affected by the attacks. Also a scene from the episode called "Just One Bite" was edited, because it features a lit match and a bucket of gas being in contact, causing The Krusty Krab to explode and burn. Even though it had nothing to do with planes and hijackings, it still depicted another form of terrorism.
  • The Nickelodeon cartoon Invader Zim had a scene of the destruction of New York City in the episode Door to Door, which was permanently edited out.
  • Before 9/11, the syndicated version of the Married... with Children episode "Get Outta Dodge - 8x17"[4] ( featured a scene of two Arabs with a ticking bomb at the front door of Al Bundy's house offering to buy his Dodge for $40 and asking for directions to the Sears Tower. The scene was cut from the syndicated re-airings of the episode after 9/11.
  • The opening credits of the new series Law & Order: Criminal Intent, which debuted on Oct. 7, were reedited to remove an image of the World Trade Center.
  • Several TV series, most notably The West Wing and Third Watch, produced special episodes addressing the attacks. Law and Order began its fall season premiere with a tribute to the victims.
  • Several shows, such as the military-based JAG and New York-based Third Watch, were forced to make major changes to their ongoing storylines in order to incorporate the event's aftermath.
  • Controversial comments regarding the attacks on the popular discussion program Politically Incorrect were directly responsible for its cancellation in 2002.
  • The opening credits of Sex and the City episodes that aired after 9/11 were modified. Two shots of the World Trade Center were replaced: the skyline shot behind the show's title was replaced with a image from a different perspective, and the shot behind Sarah Jessica Parker's name in the credits was replaced with one of the Empire State Building. According to DVD commentary by Michael Patrick King, the first episode using this edited credit sequence, "The Good Fight", also had a scene of the World Trade Center digitally removed before broadcast; the affected scene was of characters played by Kim Cattrall and James Remar dancing in their bathrobes besides an outdoor pool.
  • The music video "Prayer" by Disturbed was never aired. It contained scenes of broken and collapsing buildings due to an earthquake, however it was considered to be too reminiscient of scenes of Ground Zero.
  • From the fourth season onwards, the opening credits of The Sopranos were reedited to remove an image of the twin towers.
  • An episode of WWF SmackDown! due to be taped on 9/11 in Houston, Texas was instead broadcast live on September 13. The show began with an introduction by Vince McMahon who dedicated the show to the memories of those who died and was followed by the full roster coming out for the national anthem. Throughout the show various wrestlers talked about the events two days before.
  • In Japan, the premiere of the anime series Full Metal Panic was delayed due to a terrorist plane hijacking being an integral part of the first major plot arc.
  • In the United States, the start of the 2001-2002 television season was put on hold due to the extensive news coverage, with numerous programs that were to have had their season or series premieres in mid-September pushed back until later in the month.
  • Another example of a series that aired before 9/11 but was retroactively affected by the attacks was the game show Murder in Small Town X. The overall winner of the game, announced only a couple of weeks before 9/11, was a New York City firefighter who perished while performing rescue duties on Sept. 11.
  • A producer from the NBC show Frasier was among the passagers on board American Airlines Flight 11.

Theme Parks

  • The Walt Disney World Attraction "The Timekeeper", a 360-degree film presentation that features a panoramic view of New York City, including the Twin Towers, closed on September 11, 2001 and has since only reopened with an updated version of New York City without the Twin Towers or the WTC site, a digitally created ficitious large park is in its place.

Video Games

  • The video game Metal Gear Solid 2 was released as scheduled in November of 2001 despite the plot centering around terrorists in New York City and a scene in which a giant battleship crashes into Federal Hall; however, a scene in which Arsenal Gear destroys the Statue of Liberty and half of Manhattan was removed, as was live-action footage of the Twin Towers originally slated to be used in the ending.
  • Microsoft did not remove the Twin Towers from Microsoft Flight Simulator until the 2002 edition.
  • The computer game Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2, depicting an alternate history where the Soviet Union launches an invasion of the United States, changed its box art after the attacks. The original art was of the New York skyline on fire and a plane heading towards the World Trade Center in the background, with a soldier dressed in red wearing an eyepiece with crosshairs on the American flag. No in-game missions were changed, however.

Recorded Music

  • The album Party Music by political hip-hop group The Coup was released later than originally intended and with different cover art. The original cover art, designed in June 2001, featured the members of The Coup posing in front of twin exploding skyscrapers that strongly resembled the World Trade Center. The cover art was changed to a hand holding a martini glass with flames coming out of the top of the glass, and the release date was delayed until November.



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