Step Up won't be stepping down on this one.
The studio behind the kicky dance franchise's fourth installment, Step Up Revolution, has refused to edit a scene that critics say contains eerie echoes of last week's horrific Aurora shooting massacre and could potentially upset audiences, E! News has confirmed.
In the scene in question, dancers storm a room wearing gas masks and police vests while wielding smoke canisters—a scenario with discomfiting parallels to James Holmes' alleged rampage at a Denver-area screening of The Dark Knight Rises that left 12 dead and 58 injured.
Industry watchers who've seen an early cut of the film have reportedly taken its studio, Summit Entertainment, to task, urging top brass to jettison the scene in advance of Step Up Revolution's release on Friday.
Summit immediately pulled down TV ads and trailers featuring the scene, but refused to make any changes to the film itself.
In a statement obtained by E! News, the studio said: "Because of last week's tragic events in Colorado, Summit immediately removed television advertising that briefly showcased that scene from the film. The scene also briefly appeared in a trailer released three months ago that the studio is no longer actively servicing. Having taken these steps, Summit will open this inspirational, nonviolent film in theatres nationwide this weekend as originally edited."
The uproar comes amid an industrywide shakedown as studios scramble to reevaluate promotional strategies for films that could be deemed too sensitive in the wake of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
Already, The Dark Knight Rises has scrapped all international premieres and canceled all press junkets.
Another violence-heavy film, Gangster Squad, has followed suit, bumping its release date from September to January.