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Although the studio is yet to make an official comment, it is expected to cut a key plot scene involving gangsters firing semi-automatic weapons at the audience of a cinema, although the internal memo announcing the date change and obtained by The Wrap made no mention of the scene.
Conscious of offending cinemagoers, the scene in question – which is considered crucial to the plot – will be either removed or placed in a different setting.
The film will undergo additional re-shoots of several scenes to accommodate these changes, hence the decision to push back the film’s release date. The film is due out on 11 January 2013, rather than original date 7 September 2012.
Written by Will Beall and helmed by Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer, Gangster Squad chronicles a group of policeman pitted against notorious Los Angeles gangster Mickey Cohen in 1940s Los Angeles.
The film stars Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin and Emma Stone, and has a budget in excess of $50 million.
A trailer for Gangster Squad – which included the theater shooting scene – ran before many showings of The Dark Knight Rises.
The studio pulled the trailer within hours of the shooting, as well as taking it down from YouTube and from Apple’s trailer site.
Studio officials have reportedly been working around the clock to avoid a negative backlash against the film.
The tragic shooting in Aurora left 12 dead and 58 wounded. It occurred during a midnight showing of another Warner Bros. film The Dark Knight Rises.
The alleged gunman James Holmes, who identified himself as “The Joker” before being apprehended at the scene, is currently apprehended and awaiting trial.