Tomorrow morning will mark a week since James Holmes ambushed the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, during the midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises. In that handful of days, movie studios with upcoming releases have reevaluated how triggering certain scenes might be to a moviegoing audience shaken by this unexpected, perverse violence. Warner Bros. not only edited trailer for its new release Gangster Squad, but they also committed to actually changing the movie’s climactic scene — where Ryan Gosling and co. enter a movie theater and shoot up some gangsters — leading to rewrites, reshoots, and a January 11 release date.
While I don’t necessarily agree that studios have to compromise their artistic vision to match up with current events, it’s really classy when they do. What’s interesting is that so far the response has been reactive and accommodating, but now you have another studio with an opposite, perfectly reasonable response: Summit Entertainment has decided not to scrap a sequence where the dancers storm a room in police garb and gas masks and throw out gas canisters. That said, they have removed the trailers that depict this scene from theaters, so that whoever sees this scene will have bought his/her ticket with full knowledge of the sequence.
Summit released an official statement today:
“Because of last week’s tragic events in Colorado, Summit immediately removed television advertising that briefly showcased that scene from the film. The scene also briefly appeared in a trailer released three months ago that the studio is no longer actively servicing. Having taken these steps, Summit will open this inspirational, nonviolent film in theaters nationwide this weekend as originally edited.”
You have to imagine that this dance more closely resembles the Aurora shooting than Gangster Squad‘s, since the latter is set in 1949. Consider also that Gangster Squad‘s first release date wasn’t until September 7th, whereas Summit had poured money and energy into marketing Step Up Revolution for, you know, tomorrow. To ask them to replace or delete an entire sequence from a nonviolent film would have been unreasonable.
Photo: Summit Entertainment