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Angelina Jolie's 'Salt': Will real-life Russian spy story help its box-office fortunes?

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Image Credit: Andrew SchwartzSometimes, bad real-world news can be a film’s best friend. In 1979, 12 days after The China Syndrome was released in theaters, the nuclear power plant at Three Mile Island narrowly averted disaster. In 1987, Oliver Stone’s Wall Street came out less than a month after Black Monday, the largest one-day percentage drop in stock-market history. Both cautionary tales–which coincidentally starred Michael Douglas–benefited in buzz and box-office as a result of their newfound relevance. So it will be interesting to see how the current news cycle about the FBI arrest of 10 people who they believe to be Russian sleeper agents — and today’s swap of said prisoners on a Vienna airport tarmac for four men accused of espionage by Russia — will impact Sony’s release of Salt.

In the film, Angelina Jolie plays a CIA officer who goes on the run after she’s accused of being a Russian spy. Though the real-life accused don’t appear to have compromised any state secrets, at least one of them looked glamorous enough to draw comparisons to Jolie. When Salt hits theaters on July 23, potential audiences will have been reading headlines about suburban spies for a month, and an espionage plot with sly Russians and sexy Jolie might be more intriguing than ever.

Have the recent espionage headlines made you more aware of Salt? Or any more likely to see it? At the very least, do they at least remind you of the good ol’ days when Russians made the best Hollywood villains? Sound off in the comments below!