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'Flight 93' TV Movie Hits DVD As 'United 93' Stuns Box Office

2 May, 2006 By: Thomas K. Arnold

While Universal's United 93 continues to surprise skeptics at the box office, a made-for-TV take on the same flight has just been released on DVD.

Flight 93 is a Fox Television production that originally aired in January on the A&E Network.

It's a low-budget affair from director Peter Markle. And yet, it scored high ratings and praiseworthy reviews for its real-time portrayal of the flight, the only one of the four hijacked airliners on Sept. 11, 2001, that did not reach its intended target.

“We were proud to be involved in a project that focused on such an emotional period in all of our lives with respect and compassion,” said Larry Brahms, president of MTI Home Video, the 21-year-old Miami-based home video supplier that brought Flight 93 to DVD for the rental market. Sterling Entertainment is handling sellthrough distribution.

Director Markle said he purposely worked with a cast of relative unknown actors for the film's 72 speaking parts, “so you're able to really absorb the people on the plane.”

He said the key difference between Flight 93 and United 93 is that his film deals almost as much with the families on the ground as it does with what happened on the plane during the flight. Flight 93 also focuses more on the individual characters aboard the jet by name.

“The decision of the other film was not to get to know the characters in that sense,” Markle said.

Nevin Schreiner, who wrote the screenplay for Flight 93 with input from some of the victims' family members, said the controversy that preceded the theatrical bow of United 93 was conspicuously absent when Flight 93 appeared on television.

“That was ironic, but I guess that's the difference between film and television,” Schreiner said.

He said his goal was to paint “an honest portrayal” of what really occurred on the flight.

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