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Disaster film about jet crash at sea put on hold

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HONG KONG (AP) — A disaster movie about a jet that crashes into the ocean on its way to Beijing has been put on hold because of its similarities to the missing Malaysian plane.

Arclight Films, the company behind "Deep Water," said Wednesday that pre-production has been halted for the time being.

"We're delaying it out of respect for what's going on," Managing Director Gary Hamilton said.

An international search effort is scouring a remote stretch of the southern Indian Ocean for a Malaysia Airlines jet that disappeared March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Malaysian officials said this week that the jet likely crashed in the sea, taking the lives of all 239 people on board.

"It's a pretty tragic event," Hamilton said at Hong Kong's Filmart trade show.

He played down the similarities, saying the "movie that is not actually the same, it just deals with a plane crash."

The film is about a flight from Sydney to Beijing that goes down in the ocean, leaving an air marshal and a handful of surviving passengers and crew to fight off giant tiger sharks and other dangers.

According to a synopsis of the film posted on the company's website: "As the downed aircraft takes on water with every passing second, the surviving passengers and crew must face terror beyond reckoning."

The movie is a loose follow-up to the 2012 film "Bait," about a shark terrorizing shoppers in an Australian supermarket flooded by a tsunami.

Casting information for "Deep Water" wasn't available, but "Bait" had a mostly Australian ensemble, including Julian McMahon of television's "Nip/Tuck" and Xavier Samuel, who appeared in parts of the "Twilight" franchise.

Government film agency Screen Australia was funding "Deep Water," which was budgeted at $25 million and was to be a co-production with China, according to a report last year by Australian publication Inside Film.

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