Following the tragic events in Aurora during 2012, it made sense for Warner Brothers to rethink its release strategy for their new film “Gangster Squad.” This weekend, the studio rolled out the slightly tweaked version which is still dividing critics and audiences.
“Squad” follows a rogue group of cops who work outside the law to take on a notorious mobster (Sean Penn) who has all the influential members of 1940’s Los Angeles on his payroll. Starring James Brolin, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, the action thriller was originally slated to be positioned as an Oscar contender prior to the “Dark Knight” shootings in Aurora.
As a result the studio held the picture back out of respect for the tragedy….it also didn’t help that the film included a scene where mobsters fired into a crowded theater through a movie scene.
While that particular scene has been excised (and reportedly replaced with something even more violent), the movie itself is still coming under fire from critics which judging by today’s round of reviews are clearly not impressed.
“A cartoonish 1940s shoot-'em-up that's impossible to take seriously.” - Lou Lumenick, New York Post
“‘Gangster Squad’ talks tough and hits hard, but it is a victim of its own brute force.” – Adam Graham, Detroit News
“Somewhere in this hyper-stylized actioner are remnants of some previously-conceived film, a better movie that feels as if it has been methodically stripped down over time, losing the pulpiness of the genre to the video game culture.” - Justin Craig, FOX News.com
Still this is a stellar cast fronted by a slew of Oscar nominees and winners that will get audiences’ attention. If a mindless film like “Texas Chainsaw 3D” can make $20+ million, then it is expected “Squad” can do the same.
Thursday night’s strong midnight showings combined with yesterday’s opening day tallies only go to prove that theory as the newest projections have the film giving the expanding “Zero Dark Thirty” a run for the top spot and given “Squad” runs a full hour shorter, this should be a interesting race to watch all weekend long.
So what’s your take New York? Will you check out the film? Hit the comments and let us know. Remember, don’t forget to subscribe to this column for all of the latest news about the winter movie season.