View Full Version : "No plane crashes, please!"

06-15-2004, 01:14 PM
An agent (with whom I am not [yet??] signed) recently sounded out some contacts about one of my scripts (which she liked a lot) and which features several plane crashes (NOT caused by terrorists). She was told that, in light of recent Al Quaeda threats, no one was going to touch anything with plane crashes. They didn't even want to read it!

Has anyone else heard of this "no plane crash" policy? How long is it likely to last (assuming that the Al Q folks don't follow through anytime soon)?


Hairy Lime
06-15-2004, 01:29 PM
As someone already deathly afraid of flying, I hope this policy lasts a long, long, long time.

06-15-2004, 01:36 PM
I'd say as long as terrorism remains a threat. Things like that are not easily forgotten.

06-15-2004, 01:49 PM
Stupid, narrow minded thinking. There's nothing that drives me more crazy then when someone says "NOBODY is going to touch anything with plane crashes." That's just stupid. Maybe it's not something that a studio will take lightly, but to say that if the script was brilliant they wouldn't want it because of a plane crash is a joke.

06-15-2004, 02:24 PM
No studio or producer will want to be accused of inspiring a terrorist. I recall stories about projects either being rejected or being redone after Sept. 11th. This policy is likely to last for a very long time.

I hope plane crashes are not integral to your story, and that you can easily edit them out of your screenplay.

06-15-2004, 02:33 PM
What if the plane crashes were something out of a war movie, like say involving the airborne drops of the 101st and 82nd Airborne the night before D-Day? Would something like that be acceptable? Or is it under the "off-limits" thing?

06-15-2004, 02:41 PM
worst plane crash in a movie for me: Castaway. Scared the crap out of me and I'm already REALLY afraid of flying.

...sorry, carry on.


06-15-2004, 04:48 PM
Not everyone will shy away from a script with plane crashes.

Hell, I had a project that the CE (and sometimes associate producer...) of a big-name director loved and wanted to push through that featured a terrorist-controlled plane exploding.

Director passed 'cause he didn't want to do another action flick right then, but my manager and I have an open invitation to return down the road if nothing happens with the script in the mean time.

P.S. And just so no one things I'm a completely insensitive S.O.B., the script was written pre-9/11....

06-15-2004, 05:13 PM
"Hell, I had a project that the CE (and sometimes associate producer...) of a big-name director loved and wanted to push through that featured a terrorist-controlled plane exploding."

The biggest problem here maybe whether a studio will greenlight the project. If the script overall is good, someone may read it. A producer could possibly buy it. But studio execs may still demand that the plane crash thing be edited out.

Major studios don't want to come under attack by politicians. Most are owned by bigger media companies. Disney refused to allow Miramax to distribute Michael Moore's film. (though Lion's Gate agreed to do it).

So perhaps Lauri should decide how vital the plane crashes are to the story. Could she edit it the plane crashes out and preserve the integrity of the story? Compromises like this must be made.

06-15-2004, 05:18 PM
I guess depending on the studio, some of the smaller studios (Lions Gate, maybe?) may be willing to take a look at a project with a plane that crashes.

I do think it would be a tough sell. Whatever happens and whatever you decide, I'll give you my best wishes. You've done very good to get this far.

I'm supposed to here from an agent and a manager that I've submitted scripts to at some point in July. So you're a step ahead of me.

06-15-2004, 05:39 PM
Well, it's a little hard to edit out the plane crashes since it's all ABOUT plane crashes -- specifically, our hero is trying to prevent about 5,000 of them. It'd be like "Poseidon Adventure" without the boat.... :)

Sigh... I can certainly understand that terrorists + planes = no-no, but ALL plane crashes off limits? I was trying to think of recent (post 9/11) blow-'em-up action movies, and could only remember one aircraft crash off hand -- in "Day After Tomorrow" two helicopters go down, and we see news footage of plane crashes... In the "Riddick" previews it looks like some kind of aircraft crashes while trying to land on Vin Diesel's head, but I guess that doesn't count... ;)

When the first terrorist car bomb goes off in the US (and it probably WILL), will exploding cars also be verboten?


Mike Samonek
06-15-2004, 06:10 PM
There are no official policies re: off limits subjects. It's not like there's a list somewhere of verboten topics.

A trend to shy away from air disasters? Absolutely. But calling it a "policy," makes it sound like there's a hard fast rule, which there isn't.


06-15-2004, 06:13 PM
Its going to be really hard for terrorists to crash planes into buildings anymore, in fact crash them at all because there is a company whos been hired by the faa to create software to put on airplanes that causes airplanes not to be able to be purposely crashed any where. They all ready have some software all ready working but not approved of yet.It was on pbs.

Purposeful plane crashes are going to be wiped off the face of the earth very soon.

for real.

06-15-2004, 06:29 PM
What about the ones that aren't on purpose? Any predictions?


06-15-2004, 06:34 PM
I think the problem is that any expensive (studio) film-- like one that features plane crashes-- is going to have to be vetted by the studio's marketing department. I can't think that any marketer would like to lay out a $35 million media buy for a precisely timed release only to have a plane disaster (terrorist or otherwise) happen a week prior to opening. Producers, directors, stars might be interested in the script, but marketing considerations can still kill it.


06-15-2004, 06:58 PM
Before 9/11 there were plane crashes and movies about plane crashes. There were terrorist attacks (like the first one on the WTS) and movies about terrorists. There were presidential assasinations (and attempts) and movies about same -- even a Broadway musical!

So has something changed? Is Hollywood now terrified of the real world?

If so, what's an action-adventure writer to write? Are we stuck with cops and robbers, spies and superheroes?


06-15-2004, 08:06 PM
Lions Gate apparently didn't heed that advice with THE SNOW WALKER (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0337721/combined), (a Canadian film, recently released on dvd). Nice film, btw.

06-16-2004, 12:14 AM
I guess Dr. Stiggers needs to update his list. :rolleyes

06-16-2004, 01:32 AM
So has something changed? Is Hollywood now terrified of the real world?"

Yes, it is. Look at what just happened to Michael Moore. The CIA, FBI, and other government organizations or politicians could call the CEO of whatever media company (almost all the studios are owned by bigger media companies), and tell them not to distribute it.

We're in a climate where Janet Jackson's nipple caused a total outrage, where Howard Stern got kicked off the air, etc.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't stand by your script, but these are things that definitely need to be considered. And this is a prime example of why screenwriters need to have a diverse portfolio of screenplays in which to show agents. A screenplay can be good, but could be not viable due to current public tastes or political movements.

06-16-2004, 03:49 AM
I had a script under option about six months post 9/11 and the producer had me re-write a scene so there was no "airport scene".

Augie Kestrel
06-16-2004, 03:33 PM
I can't wait to see the software that will prohibit a plane from being deliberately crashed when it runs out of fuel, particularly now that trans-atlantic airliners will be permitted to carry only a 5% reserve (plus one-half hour's worth of fuel). A terrorist puts a jet into a steep banking turn over NYC and it's "Goodnight, Irene".

I don't think war-time plane crashes are a big deal. Plane crashes in "modern times" might be a problem, though. Besides, they won't be showing your film on the airlines, which is a bummer in itself. ;)

06-16-2004, 03:57 PM
Augie, you should be prohibited to post in case some terrorosts browse DD for the fresh ideas. :p :D

06-16-2004, 11:47 PM
ABC's new fall drama television series "Lost" takes place after a plane crashes on a deserted island. So I wouldn't believe that "no one" is gonna touch it, it's really probably just a few.

06-18-2004, 01:53 AM
Would it occur to anyone that may be society is a litte bit on edge with airplanes considering the 9/11 incident and all the general problems with airplanes?

06-18-2004, 01:57 AM
Lets say that an airplane is highjacked and its flying around in the sky with all its new software to keep it from purposely being crashed into buildings and other things.

The fuel runs out.

Im wondering if the controls will lock up and prevent it from being crashed into any buildings.

Or else

The military would be hep to the plane by then , would they shoot it down with all the passengers aboard and then later on have an excuse to destroythe plane to that no further loss of life would occur.

?????????????????????????????????????????????????? ????

Hugh Jardon
06-18-2004, 11:34 AM
my current project centers around a plane crash.
Fox doesn't seem to have any problem with it.

06-18-2004, 12:58 PM
The following was posted today in the daily script sales. Strange that it came up since this discussion has taken place. I think the "plane crash" issue depends on the producer and studio. It won't keep me from marketing my D.B. Cooper script, even though no plane crashes ever took place.

Title: The Crazies
Log line: Citizens of a small Pennsylvania town are plagued by death and insanity after a plane crash lets loose a secret biological weapon into the water supply.
Writer: Scott Kosar
Agent: Spencer Baumgarten of Endeavor
Buyer: Paramount Pictures
Price: n/a
Genre: Horror-Thriller
Logged: 6/18/04
More: Remake of George Romero’s film. Penn Station’s Michael Aguilar and Dean Georgaris will produce. George Romero will executive produce. Project set up in May 2004.