Studies have proven that the media has a pervasive influence in society, but it’s rare to see instances of society having a direct, immediate impact on the media. But for Ryan Gosling’s new flick Gangster Squad, the Aurora, Colorado shooting has caused some major changes.
Immediately after the tragic incident, Warner Bros. Studios –– who also produced Batman –– pulled the trailer for Gosling’s movie, which featured a dramatic movie theater shootout scene. For many, that scene hit a little to close to home after the devastating attack at the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora.
The movie has all the elements of a good gangster film; money, love and of course, violence. Bloody, shoot ‘em up films are nothing new, but considering the debate surrounding gun violence and gun control policies that is quickly heating up, movies like this are coming under more scrutiny. Although one can make the argument that art should not be edited to be the opiate of the masses, there is legitimate rationale in favor of films taking more responsibility for the influence they have over their audiences.
In the case of James Eagan Holmes, the shooter implicated in the Aurora massacre, one plausible theory is that his crime was inspired by the Batman movies. Even though one cannot put all the blame on a film for the actions of a deranged man, there are plenty of other instances of violent movies inspiring copycat criminals. With this in mind, it might be time for movies to start considering the possible consequences of these extremely violent scenes on impressionable moviegoers.
Gangster Squad, which stars Gosling, alongside Sean Penn, James Brolin and Emma Stone, is keeping the victims of the Colorado shooting and shaken audience members in mind. Soon after the shooting, the producers of the film decided to rework the scene before ultimately deciding to get rid of it altogether and changing the end of the movie completely. These drastic changes has pushed back the release date for the film from September to January 2013. Producers are hoping that the postponement will get audience members time to recover from any resonating fears they have because of the shooting.
Although there is no way to predict if the changes made to the film will have the producers’ hoped-for outcome, the movie industry can take a note from Gosling and company., and put concerns for the audience above commercial gain.