It's not easy being a movie distributor. Or a TV scheduler. The former spend most of their time jostling with rival studios to bag those all-important release dates for their tentpole movies, while the latter put heart and soul into creating the perfect night in for their viewers. And then what happens? Real life kicks their best laid plans into touch.
Scheduled months ago, indie drama He Was A Quiet Man finally make its way into cinemas today. The film stars Christian Slater as an office worker who plans to gun down his colleagues, only to be beaten to the outrage by someone else. Unfortunately, its release comes a mere two days after a teenage gunman killed eight Christmas shoppers in Omaha, Nebraska before - as the media invariably put it - "turning the gun on himself".
So what to do for poor old Echo Bridge Entertainment? With the projectors already whirring, they're wedged firmly between a rock and a hard place. Pull the movie and lose a fortune; let it roll and face public indignation at their terrible insensitivity.
In 2001, the John Travolta thriller Swordfish suffered a similar fate. Beginning with a bomb-blast in a crowded bank and featuring a helicopter crashing into a skyscraper,it was in the middle of its theatrical run when the Twin Towers came down. Its subsequent appearance on DVD was sold more on Halle Berry's topless scene than any action content. (Interestingly, the only screenplay writer Skip Woods has seen produced since then is Hitman, released last week.)
September 11 also wreaked havoc on TV movie schedules. If it showed trouble in the air, it was quickly taken off air. Months, even years, passed before the likes of Die Hard 2, Airplane! and Speed found their way back to the small screen.
It's not uncommon. Show us a catastrophe and we'll show you a movie whose themes are too close for comfort. Boxing Day tsunami? So long The Day After Tomorrow. Columbine massacre? Killing Mrs Tingle becomes Teaching Mrs Tingle. Kursk submarine disaster? No more hunts for Red October.
And with the Madeleine McCann story still running, should we be seeing - let alone laughing at - Raising Arizona, the Coen brothers' much-loved comedy about child abduction?
Where do we draw the line? Following a tragedy, how long is long enough? Everyone has a different idea of respect, and taste is a highly personal matter.
Ultimately, though, nobody is forcing us to watch anything (unless you're living in A Clockwork Orange). The movies will always be there. When we watch them should be left entirely up to us.