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Hurricane Sandy: 'Life of Pi's' unfortunate coincidence

October 30, 2012|By Steven Zeitchik

Hurricane Sandy could affect how marketing spots for at least one big holiday movie are perceived.

“Life of Pi,” Fox's Nov. 21 release about a boy who is stranded on a boat with a Bengali tiger in the South Pacific after a major storm, has unintended but unfortunate overtones in the wake of Sandy’s devastation.

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The massive storm, which churned across more than a half-dozen states Monday night and into Tuesday morning, has led to at least 33 deaths and forced the evacuation of thousands of residents along the East Coast.

The story line in Ang Lee’s movie, based on Yann Martel's 2003 bestselling novel, centers on a not-dissimilar series of events: It tells of a boy who is displaced to a raft in middle of the ocean after a fierce storm sinks his trans-Pacific ship and takes the lives of his family members.

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Though the movie is largely about the aftermath of the brutal weather, the storm scene is played for a high degree of visual and emotional impact.

A spokesperson for Fox said there were currently no plans to change the film’s marketing rollout. The 3-D picture has been advertised on television in the past week, with a spot showing the storm playing as recently as Sunday’s NFL telecasts. (You can watch the full-length theatrical trailer, which prominently features the storm scene, here.)

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Current events have caused creative and marketing changes to several sets of studio plans in recent months. Warner Bros. opted to recut a key scene in its period drama “Gangster Squad” and even postpone the release of the film in the wake of the movie-theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., in July. And Fox itself decided to change the title of its sci-fi comedy "Neighborhood Watch" to "The Watch" in the wake of the controversial shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida.

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