Memo to Warner: Delay Gangster Squad, Don't Cut It

To paraphrase Clemenza from The Godfather: Move the picture. Keep the scene.

Deadline Hollywood reported that Warner Bros. has decided to push the release date of Gangster Squad to January 11, 2013.

The schedule shuffle took place as a result of the tragic mass shooting at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colo.

As you're probably well aware by now, there's a pivotal scene in the Ruben Fleischer-directed movie in which mobsters burst through a movie screen to spray a crowd of movie goers with machine-gun fire.

Warner, which is part of a public company, is understandably postponing the release date to avoid appearing insensitive to the Colorado tragedy, especially given the eerie similarity between the Gangster Squad scene and what happened in Aurora.

It's a smart move, and now that the studio is putting some distance between Aurora and Gangster Squad, I think it should give serious consideration to leaving the theater scene intact. (As Deadline reported, plans are to substitute another murder spree that takes place in a different setting.)

As others have pointed out, Fleischman's movie was completed before the shooting in Aurora took place.  (The studio was already reportedly screening the film.) Admittedly, it's a sensitive and unfortunate situation. — but it's a situation that should be solved with the passage of time, not the alteration of a filmmaker's work.

Consider the point made by one Movieline reader when I  wrote on Tuesday that the movie's release would probably be delayed until next year. In the comments section, the reader, who goes by the handle "Elkabong," noted that "Around 300 Americans were killed in automobiles last month," adding:  "I assume that Warner is going to cut out any future scenes which involve people driving cars."

A Warner spokeswoman confirmed that Gangster Squad would not be released on Sept. 7 but said that no new date had been set.

Stay tuned.

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  • While they're at it, they should recut the trailer so that it doesn't look like it was filmed on some dude's iPhone.

    And make the movie look good, too.

  • Karen Blackmon says:

    Unfortunately, car crashes don't kill more than a dozen people at a time. And even if they did, it might be a 15 second story nationally. The Movie Massacre involves a lot more sensitive issues than setting. And, although no one will ever say this, they'll probably keep the scene in the picture, defend it as art, and sit back and smile at all the media attention. I hope i'm wrong.

    • D says:

      I hope you're right. They no artist should have to compromise their story and their original ideas because of influence from the outside world. Sure a tragedy occurred, but it did not occur until after this film was already being promoted.

      No disrespect to the victims, but where were all the people criticizing the theater-shooting scene before the Aurora shooting took place? It's clearly in the trailer, I though it looked pretty intense. As far as I'm concerned, there is a certain hypocrisy in only taking issue with the film's content after the Aurora shooting occurred.

      • D says:

        And I'm pretty sure it is just the setting, as nobody would have given it a second thought if the shooting occurred at a restaurant or some other venue.

  • DougW says:

    Hollywood logic - We've got no problem with the murder spree, just the setting.

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