After the attack of the Twin Towers at the World Trade center on September 11, 2001, filmmakers were left with some tough choices. Should they leave images of the Towers in their films that have already been shot but not yet released or remove them. Comic Ben Stiller chose to digitally remove the Towers from his upcoming comedy Zoolander, scheduled for release just a few weeks after the attacks. Other films, like the romantic comedy Serendipity (2001) and the children’s film Stuart Little 2 (2002), followed suit.
Another film that was affected was director Sam Raimi’s upcoming Spider-Man. Although set for release, the following summer, the film’s advertising campaign was already in full swing, with a teaser trailer and accompanying poster having already been released to theaters the previous May. The trailer features a specially shot sequence of a bank robbery getaway via helicopter being foiled by Spider-Man. The scene was not intended to be part of the actual film. The first teaser poster for the film featured the Twin Towers reflected in the eyepiece of Spider-Man’s mask. Since it predominantly featured the Twin Towers, Sony quickly pulled the trailer and poster from release and buried them away, never to be officially seen again. But nothing is ever gone from the internet, and the trailer remained in circulation on the web, albeit in the old, blocky encodes done at the time.
But earlier this week, an enterprising YouTube user uploaded a new version of the trailer that appears to be scanned from an actual celluloid copy of the trailer, with color correction after the scan. This fan-refurbished version is almost definitely the best it has ever looked outside of when it was screening in theaters in the summer of 2001. Frankly, I am surprised that it has taken this long for someone to take a better source, give it a good cleaning up and then upload it.
The original teaser was released into theaters first attached to the A Knight’s Tale that premiered in May 2001 and proceeded to play in front of numerous movies that whole summer. But after the attacks on September 11 which saw the destruction of the Twin Towers at World Trade center which killed over three thousand people, the studio quickly pulled the trailer from theaters. The accompanying poster which featured the Towers reflected in the eye piece of Spider-Man’s mask was also recalled.
And while it is completely understandable as to why the studio pulled the teaser back in 2001, I would be interested in hearing their reasoning for not having included it in more recent releases of the film. The initial blu-ray release for Spider-Man was in July of 2011, so perhaps a few months away from the tenth anniversary of the attacks would not have been the best time to have it included as a special feature on the disc. But it certainly would have made sense to roll out onto the Spider-Man Legacy Collection 4K set released in October 2017.