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Theater pulls `United 93' trailer after complaints

April 05, 2006|Scott Martelle | Times Staff Writer

A New York City movie theater pulled the trailer for the upcoming movie "United 93," the first major studio film depicting the 2001 terror attacks, after complaints by moviegoers, Universal confirmed Tuesday.

The trailer was packaged with the R-rated movie "Inside Man" and has also been screened with "Thank You for Smoking," also rated R, said Alan Fogelson, Universal's marketing president.

Fogelson downplayed the decision by the AMC Loews theater at Lincoln Square to pull the trailer last week, saying similar decisions get made two or three times a year. One theater, he said, yanked posters for "The 40 Year-Old Virgin" after a customer complained about the premise of the movie.

The "United 93" trailer begins without a title or other indication of what is to come, then flashes through scenes of increasing intensity from that day, including television news footage of the second plane crashing into the World Trade Center.

"It does not surprise me that people are having a strong emotional reaction to the piece," Fogelson said. "But I think we feel that as long as the piece is a fair and accurate reflection of the movie being made ... then it is an appropriate piece."

Deborah Borza of San Diego, whose 20-year-old daughter, Deora Bodley, died aboard Flight 93, said Tuesday she also found the trailer to be emotionally intense, "but I think the trailer pretty much depicted what must have happened on that flight."

Flight 93 was the fourth airliner hijacked Sept. 11, the one whose passengers -- once they learned through cellphone calls about the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon -- rushed the cockpit, crashing the plane into a Pennsylvania field before the hijackers could reach their intended destination.

"What happened on that flight, I'm sure, must have been very intense," Borza said. "This movie is the story about 40 ordinary people who became heroes that day."

The film, which will be screened privately for Flight 93 family members this weekend and premieres April 25 at New York's Tribeca Film Festival, gets its theatrical release April 28.

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