UPDATED, 7:36 PM: Warner Bros confirmed today that it has moved Gangster Squad from September 7 to January 11. The move allows the filmmakers to excise a shootout scene that takes place in a movie theater, which nobody wants to see after the Aurora, Colorado, tragedy at the midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises. There will be an alternate murder spree scene shot, but it will not be in a movie theater. The move also creates some distance for the film, which unfortunately had a trailer attached to the Batman finale. Fox faced a similar dilemma with its comedy The Watch. Even though that film is about a volunteer neighborhood patrol encountering aliens, its original title Neighborhood Watch brought unfortunate connotations to the fatal shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Changing that title was an attempt to avoid appearing sensitive and tasteless, and it seems to have worked.
The Ruben Fleischer-directed Gangster Squad is an L.A. Confidential-style period mob tale that stars Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin and Emma Stone, and it takes place in the 1940s and ’50s during the crime reign of Mickey Cohen. The six months of breathing room should help bring the focus back to the storyline, and not a murder spree that has no other correlation to the film.