You don’t generally expect a teen-centric, found footage, time travel movie to ruffle too many feathers, but the upcoming Project Almanac his managed to piss off the Air Force. One scene features footage of a plane crash that looks very similar to that of a 1994 B-52 crash, and the families of those killed in the accident have asked that Paramount remove the clip.
In a scene featured in the Michael Bay-produced film, characters watch a news clip of a plane crash, presumably caused by their messing around with the timeline. According to the Air Force Times, the footage is “nearly identical” to that of a crash at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington which killed four officers.
The families of Col. Robert Wolff and Lt. Col. Mark McGeehan, two of the casualties, were upset by what they saw, and were certain it was actual footage of the crash that killed their loved ones, and that they were disappointed “the clip was apparently being used in a context that is entirely different from what actually happened.”
In a statement issued Tuesday, Paramount says that the video is not the clip in question, but that it is actual news footage of a real crash. They claim that it is from a 2009 incident that took place in Tokyo, however, the AFT article claims that what is seen in the movie does resemble this second crash.
Regardless of which crash it is, Bay issued a statement saying that he thought the short snippet was a visual effect, not the real thing, and passed the buck to director Dean Israelite. Bay said:
I let film directors make their movies at Platinum Dunes and give them tremendous responsibilities. Well, unfortunately a very bad choice was made to use a real crash instead of creating a VFX shot, without realizing the impact it could have on the families.
He apologized to the families, and said that he asked Paramount to remove the footage, which they are.
The footage in question pops up at the 1:53 mark.
Even though it is only ten days away, the studio still plans to keep to the January 30 release date. Paramount’s executive VP for publicity, Katie Martin Kelley, issued an email statement saying that they are “in the process of removing the footage from the film and promotional materials.”
Project Almanac, formerly titled Welcome to Yesterday, is a found footage film that follows a group of high school friends who discover that one of their fathers built a time machine. With the impetuous energy of youth, they embark on all kinds of fun adventures through time—winning the lottery, experiencing events they missed, and generally having a blast—until they come face to face with the unexpected consequences of their actions.