Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.
MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: The film Snakes on a Plane had new scenes filmed after the film was otherwise completed to incorporate, among other things, a line from an internet spoof of the film.
Snakes on a Plane is a 2006 action/horror/comedy film starring Samuel L. Jackson as a federal agent who is escorting a federal witness to testify in a trial of a gangster. The gangster arranges for deadly snakes to be released in the plane, with the hope that they will hopefully somehow stop the plane from making its way to its destination (by killing the pilot, by killing the witness, by causing such a panic that the PANIC causes the plane to crash, I dunno).
When word got about that a fairly major movie studio (New Line Cinema, the same studio that did the Lord of the Rings trilogy) was releasing a film starring a major movie star, Samuel L. Jackson, in a film called Snakes on a Plane, well, that got the internet buzzing a bit.
Some with people mocking the idea, but a lot of it with people looking forward to a film that was so straightforward in its cheesiness that it would actually call itself “Snakes on a Plane.”
The film’s name was changed at one point to a fairly bland Pacific Air Flight 121, but the studio says that was only strictly a generic name they were using for the film while casting. The film’s star, Samuel L. Jackson, claimed that the title was the only reason he agreed to do the film (although seeing as how he only said that AFTER the film’s title became such a big deal on the internet, I do wonder about the accuracy of that statement).
The most amazing part about the pre-release hype happened when two friends produced a mock audio trailer for the film.
Chris Rohan and Nathaniel Perry worked together at a Maryland company called Graphic Audio, a company that did post-production for audio books and also produced audio trailers for said audio books.
The two friends used their equipment to make a mock audio trailer for the film, extrapolating on what they figured that the plot for the film was. One part of their satire was to play up the fact that Samuel L. Jackson is well known for playing characters prone to using profanity, most notably in the film Pulp Fiction. So Perry (playing Jackson in the trailer) mocks that reputation of Jackson’s by shouting “I have had it with these motherf-ng snakes on this motherf-ing plane!”
The trailer was a big hit online, and became part of the hype surrounding the film.
In 2006, New Line decided to go back and do re-shoots on the film (which had finished filming in September 2005), not to fix any problems with the film, but to add more graphic scenes to take the film from a PG-13 rating to an R rating (the filmmakers claim that they BARELY got a PG-13, so they figured it made more sense to do a full-out R film rather than an “almost” R film).
And, most notably, they made a point of adding to the film a line by Samuel L. Jackson saying, “Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherf-ing snakes on this motherf-ing plane!”
Here it is from the film…
That’s just amazing.
For all the hype behind the film, critics were surprised that it only did about $15 million its opening weekend. However, when all was said in done, the film grossed over $60 million in the U.S., more than doubling its $30 million budget, so the hype certainly appeared to help the film, all said and done.
The legend is…
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future urban legends columns! My e-mail address is email@example.com