×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Why It’s Time for Hollywood to Reconsider the Amount of Violence on Screen (Column)

To put it mildly, we live in scary, intolerant, violent times. Since a lone gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012, and killed 20 children, six adults and himself, there have been at least 2,187 mass shootings across America, resulting in the deaths of some 2,461 people and wounding more than 9,000 others. The latest back-to-back massacres in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, claimed 31 lives and left 50 wounded.

I think it’s fair to say that most of us in this country live in fear of when and where the next such tragedy will strike.

This is all to say that when I watched the trailer for the Jason Blum-produced thriller “The Hunt,” a fictional story about “global elites” gunning down “deplorables,” it was very hard to stomach.

In my view, Universal Pictures did the right thing by yanking the film’s planned Sept. 27 release after the most recent mass shootings. But there’s something larger here that keeps me up at night.

As I said in last week’s editor’s letter, I totally disagree with the president’s contention that violent movies and video games are motivating these shootings. How about pushing for stricter gun laws that would prevent just anyone from walking into a Walmart and purchasing a weapon for mass destruction?

Many in Hollywood have bashed Trump (rightfully so, in my opinion) for inciting violence and white nationalism with his choice of words and the hideous rhetoric he utters on Twitter and in interviews on the White House lawn. In no way am I advocating censorship, but given the heightened times in which we live, with unrelenting headlines about unthinkable acts, I think films like “The Hunt” raise a question for Hollywood: Should the industry look inward to examine the use of excessive, fiction-based screen violence?

When discussing this hot-button issue with two of our web editors, they pointed out that the horror/thriller trope of characters being hunted down has long been a staple of the big screen, and a huge cash cow (witness Blum’s “The Purge,” for one). Yet, they each admitted feeling queasy while watching gratuitous violence in the latest “John Wick” sequel and re-watching “Captain America: Winter Soldier.”

My point exactly.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Incitement

    'Incitement' Wins Ophir Award for Best Picture, Becomes Israel's Oscar Submission

    “Incitement” was the best-picture winner at Israel’s Ophir Awards on Sunday night, automatically becoming the country’s choice to vie for the international feature film Oscar. The winning film, a drama about the period leading up to the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a Jewish extremist in 1995, had its global premiere at [...]

  • LargoAI

    LargoAI Wins Inaugural San Sebastian Zinemaldia & Technology Startup Challenge

    SAN SEBASTIAN  —  Swiss artificial intelligence and data analytics company LargoAI won Sunday’s first-ever San Sebastian Film Festival Zinemaldia & Technology Startup Challenge. LargoAI’s software provides data-driven filmmaking strategies, similar to those used by major VOD platforms which aggregate and often horde their own user-driven data. From early in the screenwriting process through development and [...]

  • MARIANA-RONDÓN-MARITÉ-UGÁS

    FiGa Snags 'Contactado,' By The Team Behind San Sebastian Winner 'Pelo Malo' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sandro Fiorin’s FiGa Films has picked up worldwide sales rights to “Contactado,” the upcoming feature by Sudaca Films’ Marité Ugás and Mariana Rondón, the duo behind San Sebastian 2013 Golden Shell winner, “Pelo Malo.” The Sudaca partners are attending San Sebastian to pitch Rondón-helmed project “Zafari” at the 8th Europe-Latin American Co-production Forum. Directed by [...]

  • Brad Pitt stars in “Ad Astra”.

    'Ad Astra' Lifts Above Competition at International Box Office With $26 Million

    Though “Ad Astra” was overthrown by the Crawley family at the domestic box office, Brad Pitt’s astronaut drama reigned supreme at the international box office. Directed by James Gray, “Ad Astra” launched overseas with $26 million from 44 foreign markets. The $80 million sci-fi epic debuted in North America with $19.2 million, bringing global box [...]

  • hugh jackman tiff bad education

    Toronto's Biggest Deal Goes to HBO: A Sign of the Future? (Column)

    When it comes to how we’ll be watching movies — or, at least, watching serious dramas for adults — in the future, here are two stark and timely contradictory facts: 1. Last week, as the Toronto International Film Festival drew to a close, a deal that had been in the rumor stage for a while [...]

  • 'Talking About Trees' Helmer Suhaib Gasmelbari

    'Talking About Trees' Director Suhaib Gasmelbari Receives Variety MENA Award

    Suhaib Gasmelbari, whose Sudanese documentary “Talking About Trees” premiered in the Berlinale’s Panorama section, received the Variety Middle East and North Africa Region Talent Award Saturday at the El Gouna Film Festival in Egypt from festival director Intishal Al Timimi. Variety critic Jay Weissberg, who selected the honoree, said that it is not usual that [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content