'Non-Stop' Trailer Plays During 'SNL', But What About the Malaysian Airlines Missing Plane?


Whenever there's a tragedy someone finds a way to capitalize on some free promotion. I'm not saying that's what Non-Stop did with their Saturday Night Live ads last night, but I am saying it's pretty insensitive with the Malaysian Airlines missing plane situation still unfolding. Non-Stop is a thriller with Liam Neeson (who was also on SNL last night) about a hijacked airplane. The plot involves the flight's air marshall receiving cryptic texts demanding that the airline transfer $150 million into an off-shore account. Every 20 minutes that this doesn't happen one passenger will get killed. Needless to say it's a fairly dark film even if there weren't a real life airplane tragedy unfolding right now.

But that didn't stop NBC from running the film's trailers during SNL last night. Perhaps they were trying to tie things in with Neeson's appearance on the show, but what viewers noticed was the unfortunate timing in the wake of the missing Malaysian airplane. It was just revealed that two of the passengers boarded with stolen passports, and as things develop with the situation terrorism looks more and more likely the cause. The similarities between this tragedy and the movie are too striking for the studio to continue running the ads without being insensitive.

Sometimes events coincide like this and it's unfortunate, but when the ads still run it's almost like the studio is using all the missing plane chatter to spark interest in their film. It's like when Chelsea Handler used 12 Years A Slave's Oscars victory to plug her book "Uganda be Kidding Me."

Capitalizing on real-world events, whether happy or tragic, seems a bit crass. At the very least Silver Pictures should just cool it with the trailers for a little while out of respect for the likely fallen plane. But perhaps because the crises doesn't directly affect America, they don't care. In the past, responses to American tragedies has directly influenced entertainment. Following the World Trade Center attacks in 2001, a whole host of shows and movies were edited, delayed, or canceled out of respect for the tragedy. No one wanted to see a movie about a terrorist following such a horrific event, and studios were quick to understand to that, pushing back release dates for movies like Arnold Schwarzenegger's Collateral Damage, or editing scenes out of Spider-Man's trailer so it didn't prominently feature the fallen buildings.

Since we had that kind of entertainment response to an similar event in the past, it stands to reason that Non-Stop could probably pull the trailer for a little while, at least until we know the plane's true fate.