Monday Morning Quarterback Part II
By BOP Staff
January 16, 2013
Kim Hollis: Gangster Squad, a $75 million production with a spectacular cast, opened to $17.1 million this weekend. Why didn't audiences warm to this concept?
Jason Barney: As speculated in the Weekend Wrap Up, Gangster Squad probably took a big hit when the shooting happened in Colorado. I am not sure there is much that could have been done to save the product from that point in time. The odd thing is, I can remember seeing a preview for it, surprised by the violence and setting of the movie theater shoot out. It was interesting, and even though I only saw that trailer once, it stuck with me. Then the shootings happened, and everything changed. Warner Bros. made the only decision they could, moving the film and redoing that particular scene, but by that time the damage was done. I don't think there was a thing in the world they could have done to save the project. $75 million is not a huge budget against some of the other ones we have seen, but once everything went down, just releasing this movie seemed like something Warner Bros. didn't really want to do. Going to see it becomes that much less interesting, like doing chores on a Sunday night before going back to work for a full week. I doubt many people will be drawn to Gangster Squad from here on out and it will leave the top 10 pretty quickly.
Edwin Davies: The Aurora shooting absolutely had an impact on Gangster Squad since it was the film most associated with the tragedy, albeit in an unfortunate and tangential way, with the obvious exception of The Dark Knight Rises. The news that it was being pulled and that scenes were being reshot further hurt the perception of the film, and the fact that it got moved to January and out of potential awards contention - because at one point it was being primed as a real contender - suggested that Warner Bros. was resigned to releasing the film because they had to, rather than because they wanted to.
Aside from that, though, I think the film would have been a tough sell since these period crime dramas always are. With a few notable exceptions, namely The Untouchables and L.A. Confidential, gangster pictures tend not to resonate with audiences, possibly because they tend to look old-fashioned and a little quaint (two things that could not be said about the two examples I cited, which may explain their relative success). Gangster Squad looked a little cartoonish to be a series drama, but also had the air of an awards contender, which is pretty untenable combination. Factor in the fact that it's not terribly good, and you've got a project that had a great deal of potential but which seems to have become unstuck through factors of its own making and ones that were out of its control.
Felix Quinonez: Like most people I think that the change in release date had a big impact on the box office performance. But I also think that it didn't really have great marketing. It almost felt like the studio just gave up on the movie. Maybe if the movie was better there would have been a bigger push but it seemed like they knew they had a turkey on their hands. Another factor that shouldn't be ignored is the awards season. Right now every one is focused on the nominees and not too many people care about a movie that was pushed back from a September release date and has terrible reviews.