With the saga of the awful Aurora, Colorado shooting at the end of last week only just beginning, as the alleged perpetrator had his first court date today — televised, of course — it seems Warner Bros. has made a decision regarding “Gangster Squad.” As you might recall, the studio quickly rushed to yank the trailer from in front of prints of “The Dark Knight Rises” as it featured a sequence in which some gangsters shoot through a movie screen toward an audience. Reports also suggested that WB was tabling a few options on how to handle the film, from delaying the release to cutting the scene, and unfortunately, the latter option is prevailing.
Variety reports that with the September 7th release date still locked in, the movie theater scene will be removed from “Gangster Squad” with reshoot plans now underway. And we have to say, we think this is an earnest, if completely wrong-headed decision. Given the 24-hour, non-stop news cycle we live in, there is no doubt that Warner Bros. was feeling the pressure to make some kind of gesture or announcement regarding the fate of the film, but editing the movie sends the wrong message. It condescends to the audience, not giving moviegoers enough credit for being able to make an informed decision about their choices at the multiplex or being able to handle a difficult scene as adults. But from another angle, it also seems a crassly commercial move, ensuring the movie still gets released in the all-important 4th quarter, whereas simply delaying the release would allow the appropriate space between the event and the film, while still maintaining the artistic integrity of the picture. In short, if they pursued the latter course, the studio would be allowing that murderous lunatic to have a much less corrosive effect on their film.
The scene in question is said to be a climatic one, so it’s unclear just how extensive reshoots will need to be or what cast members will be involved. But it seems its appearance in the trailers will be the last of it we’ll see (unless it’s preserved on the eventual DVD/Blu-ray). Did WB make the right call? Let us know below.