There is snake bitten and then there is SNAKE bitten!
That’s the fate of director Ruben Fleischer’s Gangster Squad, the film adaptation of Paul Lieberman’s Mickey Cohen-era crime novel, “Tales from the Gangster Squad.” Warner Home Video has tabbed this snake-bit crime thriller for a DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack (both SKUs with UltraViolet) release of Apr. 23.
The ARR works out to 102 days and the box office take was a nice $45.9 million.
First, Gangster Squad was the bumper trailer on the front of Warner Bros. theatrical release of The Dark Knight Rises (literally edited to the front of the film itself) and it ironically featured a gangland massacre at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre. As a result of the Aurora theatre incident, the cast featured in that concluding sequence to the film had to be reassembled to re-shoot an entire new ending to the film.
That unfortunate re-shoot forced the studio to bump the film out of its original Labor Day weekend slot and into January of 2013. That was the first bite from the snake.
The casting of Sean Penn in the pivotal role of mobster Mickey Cohen, especially with the notoriety of the Aurora, Colorado incident, was the second bite from the snake as it turned half of the country off from even considering the option of plucking down money to watch the film in a theatrical venue.
He has made himself into a polarizing public figure, despite being a damn good actor — the rest of the cast is terrific (Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Nick Nolte, Emma Stone and Giovanni Ribisi).
And then the third bite from the snake comes when the film is given an early January theatrical release date — smack dab in the middle of blizzards and a half-dozen Christmas hold-overs that are pulling in mega-bucks at the local multiplexes (one of the best Oscar races in recent memory).
Doomed, right? Dead meat? A red-ink studio write-off? No, Gangster Squad, despite having the cards stacked heavily against it, pulled in a respectable $45.9 million in its ill-timed theatrical run ... that means that word of mouth kept people coming to theatres despite all of those snakes crawling in the aisles.
Now Warner Home Video can add to the film’s success (home entertainment gives Penn-haters the opportunity to enjoy the film and hiss at him in the privacy of their living rooms) … bonus goodies for the home entertainment release include the featurette titled “Tough Guys with Style.”
Exclusive to the Blu-ray SKU are commentary from director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland, 30 Minutes or Less), two additional featurettes — “Rogues Gallery: Mickey Cohen” and “The Gangland Files” — and deleted scenes (we can hope that this includes the film’s original ending).
To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report