Theater Shooting

Gangster Squad Theater Scene

Whether they needed to or not, Warner Bros. went into something of a panic after last month’s tragic theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado and made plans to scrap a key scene from their upcoming release Gangster Squad. You see, their crime film’s climax also concerned a shooting taking place in a movie theater, and the studio figured that creating a fantasy tragedy that so closely resembled a recent, real-life tragedy would have been in bad taste. After a bit of deliberation, the plan was to completely rewrite and reshoot the sequence, a process which would push the film’s release from September 7 to sometime in 2013 (now confirmed as January 11). Of course, given that reshoots necessarily pushed back the release date of the film, further discussion was created around the issue of whether or not a movie coming out in 2013 would need to change its content because of a shooting that happened in 2012. It’s an interesting line the studio is straddling between acting in good taste and censoring art. But, no matter where your opinion on the issue lies, what’s been decided has been decided, and director Ruben Fleischer and crew are going forward with the reshoots.

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Gangster Squad Reshoots

It didn’t take long after the recent shootings in an Aurora Colorado movie theater for Warner Bros. to realize that they had a problem on their hands with Gangster Squad. Seeing as their upcoming crime drama—which is currently set for a September 7 release—so prominently features a scene where a bunch of machine gun wielding gangsters open fire on a theater full of moviegoers, a decision about the potentially offensive scene needed to be made. Yes, it’s unfortunate that a real life tragedy can lead to self-censorship when it comes to art, but good taste is good taste. The trailers for the film were immediately pulled after news of the shooting broke, and the studio’s initial plan was to rush some re-writes and re-shoots to have the theater scene replaced with something else before Gangster Squad’s release. That was the initial plan. Now Variety is reporting that making major changes to a film when there are only six weeks until its scheduled release might not be a possibility.

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Gangster Squad Reshoots

Real life tragedies affecting film releases isn’t a new phenomenon. There was a period after the terrorist attacks on 9/11 where films shot in New York City before the World Trade Center went down had to go back and edit scenes out or use digital trickery if even a glimpse of the Twin Towers appeared in a shot. And, more recently, upcoming comedy The Watch had its title changed and one of its trailers pulled after content in the ad too closely echoed the killing of Florida teen Trayvon Martin. People don’t like to be reminded of horrible things when they’re trying to go out for a night of entertainment. So, it comes as no surprise that in the wake of the theater shooting that took place during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, some films are going to be making adjustments to their content and marketing efforts in order to not inappropriately echo the tragedy that took place. So far the studio that’s most immediately affected is Warner Bros. Not only did they have millions of dollars worth of violence-filled TV ads for The Dark Knight Rises pulled from the airwaves over the weekend, but they also cancelled several special screenings where the stars of the film were scheduled to make personal appearances. And another of their upcoming releases, the Ruben Fleischer-directed Gangster Squad, is making it necessary for them to make even more adjustments.

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Dark Knight Rises Shooting

Update 2: The police have now corrected the death toll to 12, down from 14. They’ve also identified the suspect they have in custody as 24-year-old James Holmes from Aurora and said he didn’t resist arrest. Update 1: Aurora Police Chief Daniel Oates confirms at least 14 dead. Ten died in the theater and four more died in area hospitals. At least 50 others were injured. The police found a male suspect near the theater matching the description given by witnesses in possession of a gas mask, a shotgun and at least one handgun. That male suspect is now in custody. The police currently have no evidence of a second gunman. The police are asking that anyone who saw anything contact them with that information. Original: According to 9 News in Aurora [live stream], a single gunman wearing a gas mask entered Theater #9 at Town Center Movie Theaters during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in the suburb of Denver, Colorado and began shooting into the crowd. There are also reports of a possible small explosion and smoke filling the theater and one adjacent. One witness said it happened during a shoot out scene and that several people thought it might be a promotional element to the screening until a theater representative sounded the fire alarm and used the PA system to tell everyone to evacuate. The same witness reported that the gunman was throwing tear gas into the crowd to keep them from leaving. 9 News […]

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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