Update: Variety reports that WB has decided to cut the controversial scene entirely, with plans to reshoot a different scene to presumably fit into this climatic sequence of the film. The report makes no mention of a release date delay. Read the original story below.
In response to the tragic shootings that took place during an Aurora, Colo. midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises, Warner Bros. recently announced that they’ll delay official announcement of the film’s opening weekend box office take until Monday. The film’s co-writer and director, Christopher Nolan, also released a heartfelt statement on behalf of his cast and crew, saying that “the movie theatre is my home, and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me.”
The controversy here, however, not only surrounds Nolan‘s Batman trilogy, but another Warner Bros. product: Ruben Fleischer‘s Gangster Squad. The studio was quick to remove the film’s trailer from theaters, seeing as how one of the centerpieces of it is a bullet-laden rampage of a movie theater. Understandably, though, it looks as if this is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of how the studio is planning to treat Fleischer‘s film in light of the Aurora event. [LA Times]
According to two “knowledgeable” — though publicly unidentified — people, “studio executives are discussing the possibilities of pushing the September 7th release date and recutting the film to minimize the theater shooting scene or remove it altogether.” Currently slotted for a September 7 release, the studio had a Gangster Squad test screening scheduled within the next week or so, though that’s reportedly being tampered with as well.
Echoing the sentiment of other reporters, Richard Roeper, in a recent blogpost, revealed that he’s read Will Beall‘s screenplay for the film, and said that the theater-raid moment is indeed “a key sequence taking place fairly late in the action.” However, as Roeper observes, it’s unlikely that the sequence will now be preserved in full, unless they really decide to shelve the film for quite some time.
More on the reaction from Warner Bros. as the news continues to trickle in. And it goes without saying that a piece like this should be approached with a unique mindset. We’re obviously not here to trivialize what happened in Aurora. But sometimes things like this happen that coincide with what we are here to cover — the world of film — and handling that can be very tricky and delicate.
Do you think Warner Bros. is reacting in the proper fashion? How do you think they’ll alter their treatment of Gangster Squad?