The plan was for New York's landmark Twin Towers to feature in promotional material for 2002's Spider-man movie.
OH. SO WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED?
Prior to the release of Spider-man (2002) Sony/Columbia Pictures produced posters and a trailer to publicise the forthcoming release of the first Spidey movie, which made use of the iconic imagery of the Twin Towers. The poster artwork featured the Towers appearing in a reflection in Spider-man's eyepiece and was a minor inclusion in the marketing campaign; however the teaser trailer used the Twin Towers in a more prominent role.
The trailer featured an armed bank robbery with the criminals taking their loot up to the roof of the bank, where they planned to make their escape in a helicopter. As the helicopter takes off the thieves believe that they are home free, only for the aircraft to suddenly stop in mid-air. The cause of the brief pause is a web-line attached to the back of the helicopter, which pulls the vehicle backwards into a giant spider's web spread between the Twin Towers.
The teaser trailer was shot specifically for the purpose of promoting the film and was designed to connect Spidey to iconic imagery in his home city of New York.
BUT WHAT DID HAPPEN?
In 2001, on September 11th, terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners and flew two of the aircraft into the Twin Towers, with the third airliner crashing into the Pentagon. The fourth craft crashed in Pennsylvania after the passengers fought the hijackers. The total loss of life reached almost 3,000 people. As a mark of respect to those that lost their lives the trailer and the posters were instantly pulled from public view and replaced with a new marketing campaign. The trailer popped up on YouTube, but as the footage was never intended to be part of Spider-man, the only adjustments that were made to the finished film were to show support for New Yorkers by adding a few minor tweaks to the script.
WAS SCRAPPING THE MARKETING CAMPAIGN SUCH A BAD THING?
It was a shame that the teaser trailer was replaced as it was a fun play on the famous line from the '60s Spidey toon about Spider-man 'catching thieves just like flies'; but ultimately the campaign was dropped for the right reasons. Post-911 the finished film featured a scene in which a few citizens of New York helped spider-man fight off an attack by the villainous Green Goblin, pointing out that if you mess with one New Yorker, you mess with all of them.
BUT WHAT IF?
If the campaign had gone ahead... then it would have been a great campaign!
But it didn't and Spider-man was still a brilliant movie!