Fiction and fact collided when terrorist-piloted planes slammed into national landmarks this week. And many people, having trouble grasping the enormity of the events, compared the images of a collapsing World Trade Center, to the movies.
Maybe it was the spooky similarity between reality and digitally-created scenes for the big screen. Or worse, maybe it was the distressing realization that reality had turned out to be far worse than any imagined movie or television plot. Either way, the entertainment industry took note of arguably America's worst single day.
Hollywood executives re-evaluated new films and television shows to remove elements involving terrorism, conspiracies or anti-American sentiment.
Disney postponed the Sept. 21 release of its Tim Allen comedy Big Trouble, which included a scene of Miami residents grappling with a bomb on a plane.
Sony Pictures yanked trailers for the comic-book-turned-action-flick Spider-Man, which featured a scene in which the superhero catches a helicopter full of robbers by trapping them in a web strung the Twin Towers. The company also said it would change the ending to the unfinished comedy Men in Black 2, which involved a struggle with aliens near the World Trade Center.
Even the actor most famous for fighting terrorism on the big screen was bowed by the grim reality of Bloody Tuesday. Arnold Schwarzenegger was to flex his pecs in Collateral Damage, in which the bodybuilder fights a terrorist who bombs an L.A. skyscraper. Warner Bros. indefinitely postpone the planned Oct. 5 release.
Movies were shuffled or replaced in TV lineups. Viewers tuning into ABC would not see The Peacemaker, about nuclear terrorists, but the romance Hope Floats. Instead of airings of the conspiracy-laden X-Files movie and Independence Day this weekend, Fox will broadcast the pregnancy comedy Nine Months and Robin Williams' Mrs. Doubtfire.
Independence Day includes a scene in which the Empire State Building and the White House are blown up by aliens.
"We're looking at programming that is more family-oriented so people can watch it together," Fox network spokesman Scott Grogin said.
Even films and ad campaigns that didn't directly involve terrorism or images of New York's former skyline were being withdrawn.
DreamWorks began removing ads Thursday for the military prison drama The Last Castle because it featured an upside-down flag — a symbol of distress.
Studio officials said they feared the so-called "teaser" poster would seem alarming to an already distressed public.
Meanwhile, awards show organizers pondered how winners at the postponed Emmys and canceled Latin Grammys would receive their honor if ceremonies cannot move forward.
Grammy head Michael Greene promised to "ensure that all the winners still will be recognized and given the awards they have earned."
Even the new Internet game Majestic, an interactive mystery involving conspiracies and bombings, was suspended.
"Given the recent national tragedy we feel that some of the fictional elements in the game may not be appropriate at this time," said a statement by creator Electronic Arts.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.