Following the shooting deaths of at least 12 people at an Aurora, Colo., theater last night during a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises," a trailer for the upcoming movie "Gangster Squad" that was offered with the film has been pulled, Warner Brothers has reportedly confirmed to NBC News.
One scene from the trailer, which can be viewed at the 2:03 minute mark in the video above, features four men standing behind a movie screen in trenchcoats, walking towards the audience shooting at them with automatic weapons as mayhem erupts in the theater.
UPDATE: 3:32 p.m.-- Apple appears to have removed the trailer for "Gangster Squad" from its site, according to Michael van Poppel of BNO News, who noted the video's removal on Twitter. The link to the trailer page currently displays a message saying the page cannot be found. Apple did not immediately reply to The Huffington Post's request for comment.
Van Poppel also reported that YouTube has blocked U.S. users from viewing the trailer.
"Gangster Squad" -- a mobster film set in 1940s Los Angeles and starring Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone and Sean Penn -- is set to be released by Warner Brothers in September.
Nikki Finke of Deadline Hollywood wrote that she complained about the trailer to Warner Brothers first thing Friday morning and has since relayed a response from an executive:
A Warner Bros executive now tells me how the studio was scrambling to deal with the Aurora theater shooting crisis in the pre-dawn hours of the morning. Then, at 5 AM, one of the top distribution execs remembered that Warner Bros’ Gangster Squad trailer was playing “loose” this weekend timed to the studio’s The Dark Knight Rises release in about 30% of domestic theaters. (“Loose” means that theaters had been asked to play the trailer which was not paired with The Dark Knight Rises.)
According to Warner Bros, this distribution exec suddenly remembered that the trailer for the mob movie contained a scene showing a gangster with a machine gun shooting up people in a movie theater from behind the big screen. This distribution exec quickly instructed the studio to “replace it as soon as possible”. At 6 AM, Warner Bros started notifying the theater circuits to pull the offensive Gangster Squad trailer. That is being done all over North America today.
When contacted by The Huffington Post regarding the decision to pull the trailer, a spokesperson for Warner Brothers declined to comment at this time.
As NBC noted, this is not the first time a trailer has been pulled following an unfortunate coincidence. 20th Century Fox changed the name of a film initially titled "Neighborhood Watch" to "The Watch" following the Trayvon Martin shooting.
Security has already been stepped up at showings of 'The Dark Knight Rises' in other parts of the country, with the NYPD planning to add police coverage to theaters throughout the city. The Paris premiere of the film has already been cancelled.