After starting life as a project that Warner Bros. was very gung-ho to make, and quickly roping in a cast that includes Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, and Sean Penn, Ruben Fleischer‘s film Gangster Squad is in a difficult position. The movie tells a fictionalized account of LA cops attempting to stop the incursion of organized crime into Los Angeles during the 1940s. Part of the climax of the film features a scene in which mobsters fire at a theater full of moviegoers, shooting out into the auditorium from behind the screen, as pictured in the trailer.

In the wake of the horrific shooting at an Aurora, CO screening of The Dark Knight Rises, Warner Bros. wisely pulled the trailer from theaters last Friday. But the studio is considering taking a more dramatic step: delaying, and potentially even recutting the movie.

Update: Variety announces that Warner Bros. will remove the theater shootout from Gangster Squad, and that the film will undergo some reshoots. Original article follows.

The LA Times reports that WB execs are mulling the possibility of pushing the planned Sept. 7 release of Gangster Squad, and have even discussed recutting the film to “minimize the theater shooting scene or remove it altogether.” That’s not an easy process, given the scene’s placement in the film. Cutting that sequence might require reshoots, and could hurt the film overall.

We’ll see how this plays out now that a couple of days have gone by and the immediate raw response to the murders has had a chance to turn into something slightly less than “total shock.”

It is an unfortunate coincidence that Gangster Squad‘s climax features a scene that reflects the events in Aurora, and delaying it is likely a good call. (The film was recently pulled forward to September 7 from an original October 19 opening date.) Beyond that, Warners will have to test-screen the film to see if it will play as it currently stands, and make a decision about further changes from there. Recutting the film seems like a too-drastic move, but if it isn’t going to play, the studio might see the edit as the safest course.

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