How 9/11 Influenced Hollywood

Entire books have been written about how 9/11 influenced Hollywood.

Before September 11, 2001, movies like Independence Day and Armageddon depicted the destruction of American cities when it seemed like a far-fetched, borderline impossible, thing that could happen.

In the aftermath of 9/11 Hollywood took away any visuals that would remind viewers of the attacks.

Lilo and Stitch (released in 2002) had planned to release a scene that contained Stitch in an airplane weaving through buildings. Instead, they had him in a spacecraft flying among mountains.

During the 2000s, fantasy genres saw huge success. Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter surged in popularity. Superhero films like The Dark Knight and The Avengers also were huge hits and involved beating back the bad guy.

Some TV shows and movies directly referenced the attacks but several years after the attacks, from United 93 (2006) to Zero Dark Thirty (2012).

And a few post-9/11 shows, most notably 24, have been criticized for legitimizing torture as a means of stomping out terrorism.

Now, with monsters once again wreaking havoc in cities in films like Godzilla vs. Kong, it appears that 9/11 imagery has become a “below-the-line” message.

Given that the world would experience another traumatic event some 18-20 years later in the form of Covid-19, you will probably observe similar patterns in current pop culture.

How long before directors pitch a pandemic film?

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