With the country still reeling from the shocking and awful shooting in Colorado during a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises,” an incident that has left twelve dead and more than fifty injured, the industry itself is figuring out how best to respond. Warner Bros. has been left in an unfortunate position, with the opening of their biggest film of the year marred. Thus far, the studio has pulled TV spots for the film and has decided not to report the box office figures this weekend out of respect for the victims. But another upcoming film on the WB slate may also be affected by the events of the past couple days.
If you caught the deplorable, self-centered squaking by Nikke Finke yesterday, who managed to turn a national tragedy into being all about her, and then you might have learned that “Gangster Squad” trailer was attached to about 30% of the prints of ‘Rises.’ Finke initially crowed that it was only due to her badgering that the studio decided to yank the trailer — which features a scene of gangsters shooting through a movie screen at the audience — from the film, before later backpedaling and “graciously” giving the studio credit for making that call themselves, explaining that she wasn’t given the full story because it was an outside rep that was handling their PR yesterday. Regardless, it was utterly shameless display, with Warner Bros. obviously dealing with the kind of event no one can prepare for; Nikki should realize that returning her calls probably wasn’t high on their to do list.
Anyway, the LA Times reports Warner Bros. are still assessing what to do with Ruben Fleischer‘s film as the nation comes to grips with the events in Colorado. Among the options on the table are delaying the release of the film, or editing or removing the movie theater sequence entirely. The only issue with that choice is that the scene is apparently a “climatic moment,” and changing it would potentially hurt the narrative throughline, and/or require new scenes to be shot. There was a test screening planned for later this month as well, but that too may be canceled.
Given we’re still barely over 24 hours since this all happened, everything about the shooting is still very raw nerved and emotional. While sensitivity towards an audience is appreciated, we’d hate to see Flesicher’s film compromised or changed from its original vision, and we hope that the filmmakers and the studio step back, and take their time in making a call on this. A delay seems like the smartest play at this point, allowing everything in the wake of Colorado to unfold as it should, while also giving “Gangster Squad” a chance to re-gear its marketing campaign down the line; editing/cutting seems like a hasty, short term solution . We understand WB wants to do right by victims still reeling from all of this, but what do you think? Should “Gangster Squad” be pushed back? Should that sequence be edited — whether its released now or later on? Weigh in below.