A new movie set to open in late April is already getting lots of attention just from its promotional trailer. It’s being released by NBC Universal, the parent company of NBC, which is a partner with Microsoft in MSNBC.com. The movie is about United Flight 93 — the hijacked plane from September 11th that crashed in Pennsylvania.
The trailer begins as that day did, routinely, with a flight to San Francisco. Now showing on 3,000 screens, the preview is causing a stir at theaters.
Says moviegoer Sharif Rasheed, “I'm still in shock. I don't think its right to do it.”
Fellow viewer Bill Bowlin echoes the thought, adding, “I thought it was very poor taste and too soon afterwards.”
After complaints, one theater in New York pulled the trailer.
Elsa Strong still shudders when she watches it online. Her sister, Linda Gronlund, was on flight 93, along with her boyfriend Joe DeLuca.
“I can understand people being shocked and surprised when they first see it,” Strong says, “but I think that it's a story that needs to be told.”
The movie is a story of the 40 passengers on board who took on the hijackers for control of the aircraft that crashed in Shanksville, Penn.
On the movie's Web site, Strong first got a glimpse of her sister's portrayal. Like many that day, Gronlund called from the plane. Strong starts to cry as she remembers taking the call.
None of it is easy to watch. But flight 93 family members worked closely with the filmmakers, while others who lost loved ones on 9/11 worry if it will be handled sensitively.
“They'll see it's been made in a responsible fashion — by serious people,” says director Paul Greengrass. “And I hope they will see it's making a contribution to a very necessary debate.”
Strong has even become close with the actress who plays her sister. This past weekend, with her mother, she saw the movie in a private screening.
“They did a fine, fine job,” Strong said after the show. “And I really hope a lot of people get to see it.”
There is no Hollywood ending. The movie ends as that day did. That’s a reality too grim for some moviegoers, but too important for loved ones left behind.