Postponed by U.S. violence, "Gangster Squad" opening in theaters

Wed Jan 9, 2013 2:10pm EST
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By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - After having its release delayed and scenes reshot because of last summer's mass movie-theater killing in Aurora, Colorado, crime drama "Gangster Squad" finally hits theaters on Friday.

"Gangster," set in 1949 Los Angeles, stars Sean Penn as real-life gangster Mickey Cohen, who is ultimately brought down by a band of cops led by Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling.

After the Colorado tragedy, Time Warner Inc's Warner Bros. studio, which is releasing the film, removed the scene in "Gangster" that eerily depicted a similar movie-theater shooting.

It substituted a new sequence, set in Chinatown.

At a press event in December, "Gangster Squad" director Ruben Fleischer said, "We should all respect the tragedy and not draw associations to our film."

But ironically, after "Gangster's" initial September 7 release date was pushed back four months - presumably to allow for time after the Colorado rampage - the film will now open less than a month after the massacre of 20 children and six adults by a gunman at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

Brolin also cautioned at the December event against linking "Gangster" and other movies with real-world violence and suggested the public look at the "grand scheme of things" including social problems such as drug abuse and unenmployment.

"There's no one reason" for mass attacks, Brolin told reporters. "There will always be violence in movies. And whether it lends (itself) to the one psychotic that's out there thinking the worst thoughts you can possibly think is always going to be a mystery."   Continued...

Actress Emma Stone arrives at Warner Bros. Pictures' "Gangster Squad" premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California, January 7, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn