Warner Bros. has officially moved the release of its star-studded mob drama "Gangster Squad" to January 11, 2013. The movie was originally slated to open this September, but the studio made the decision to cut a key scene in light of the Colorado shootings.
This scene, which as been referred to as both "one of the movie's showcase pieces" and the movie's actual ending, shows a gunfight shot in Grauman's Chinese Theater in Los Angeles. It's briefly seen in the trailer, which the studio has since removed from the official movie site and other outlets.
Stories began circulating earlier this week about reshoots for the movie, which stars Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone and Anthony Mackie. Screenwriter Will Beal has been called into action for rewrites, with an eye towards keeping as much as the scene as possible - especially given the cost of the scene and the complications of bringing cast members with packed schedules.
Moving the release date might also serve as a buffer between the event and the movie's release. This isn't the first time that scenes in a movie have coincided with a terrible real-life event. One example is "The Watch," which opens this weekend. The movie, which is about four guys who run a neighborhood watch and are on the hunt for alien life forms, was renamed and given a new trailer in the wake of the terrible shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Whether or not those differences actually will matter in the long run for "The Watch" is another question entirely.
Dumping a movie like "Gangster Squad" in January is a harsh move, but it shows how keen WB is to put a buffer between the Colorado shooting and the movie's release. September is when studios start releasing movies that they want in front of Academy members' eyes so they're fresh for Oscar nominations. January and February are typically dumping grounds for movies that studios want to bury. Although "Gangster Squad" might not be Oscar fodder, this move definitely puts the kibosh on any possibility. It's still a big budget period piece with a long list of respected actors (Penn, Brolin) and very buzzy stars (Gosling, Stone, Mackie), so it's possible it could have otherwise been in the running. Currently, the other movie slated for Jan. 11, 2013, is "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters," so at least box office competition will be slim.