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Tsunami could affect “Battle: L.A.” Weekend Box Office

By Sean O’Connell

Hollywoodnews.com: A magnitude 8.9 earthquake devastated Japan early Friday morning, creating a tsunami that is expected to bring waves towering 6-to-10-feet high to the coasts of Hawaii and the entire Pacific seaboard of North America throughout the day today.

Americans turned to their television sets Friday morning to track the storm, while social media tools flooded with thoughts and prayers for Japan, Hawaii and all communities affected by this natural disaster. It will be on all of our minds today, tomorrow, and for the next few weeks as our planet digs out from this massive, sorrowful tragedy.

In our small, close-knit community of Hollywood, we begin to ponder how real-life incidents affect the fantasies we beam across the big screen. While there is never a good time for a natural disaster to occur, the devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami could have a direct consequence for “Battle: Los Angeles,” a science-fiction thriller about Marines fending off an alien invasion that opens in theaters today.

The images streaming out of Japan on our television sets and laptops (courtesy of YouTube) eerily resemble the bombed-out sets and fiery streets created by “Battle” director Jonathan Liebesman’s production designers. The Los Angeles setting for the bombastic “Battle” also hits a little too close to home for Southern Californians who are being told to evacuate their coast as the tsunami draws closer. There’s even a telling scene from the memorable trailer of a TV reporter on the Santa Monica beaches pointing to a wave of alien creatures storming the coast. Do you think that shot is being mirrored on TV sets in Southern California this morning with a different, more dire message?

There is a drastic distinction between reality and fiction. But sometimes, the reality we are facing rings too true to the fiction that filmmakers are introducing to our multiplex. Will audiences want to break away from the actual devastation on our small screens to sample fictional devastation on the big screen? We’ll find out this weekend as box-office trafficking inches along.

In the meantime, we continue to pray for the safety of everyone directly affected by this terrible turn of events.

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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One Comment

  • March 11, 2011 | Permalink |

    Wow, I really disagree with this article. The tsunami and earthquake both require different ends of the same attention spectrum: entertainment and real world tragedy.

    People can afford to experience both. I went into Battle: LA last midnight (a couple of hours after the quake struck) to a packed house. I’ve heard from friends throughout today with similar reaction.

    Distanced tragedy and box office entertainment don’t occupy 100% of our waking hours.

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