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

  • Beyonce Knowles'The Lion King' film premiere,

    ABC Announces Behind-the-Scenes Special for Beyoncé's 'Lion King' LP

    ABC has announced a new behind-the-scenes look into the making of Beyoncé’s “The Lion King: The Gift” LP, which is set to air September 16 on ABC at 10 p.m. EST. Titled “Beyoncé Presents: Making the Gift,” the new hour-long special will allow viewers to “experience the process” behind the “Lion King” companion album, according [...]

  • Jason Lei Howden, Samara Weaving and

    Daniel Radcliffe On Acting With Weapons Nailed To Your Hands

    How did “Guns Akimbo” director and writer Jason Lei Howden convince Daniel Radcliffe to play a character with guns nailed to his hands? Easy, he sent him the script. Radcliffe joined Howden and “Ready or Not’s” breakout star Samara Weaving in the Variety’s Toronto Film Festival studio, presented by AT&T to talk the limits of [...]

  • Box Office: It Chapter Two Maintains

    Box Office: 'It: Chapter Two' Continues International Reign With $47 Million

    Pennywise’s reign of terror hasn’t wavered: Warner Bros.’ “It Chapter Two” maintained first place on box office charts, led by another strong showing overseas. The sequel, based on Stephen King’s horror novel, generated another $47 million at the international box office for a foreign tally of $169 million. After two weeks of release, “It Chapter [...]

  • First still from the set of

    Taika Waititi’s 'Jojo Rabbit' Wins Top Prize at Toronto Film Festival Awards

    Taika Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit” has won the coveted People’s Choice Award at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. The honor positions the film for a potential Oscar run and bolsters its awards chances. That’s good news for Fox Searchlight, which must have been disappointed by the lackluster critical reception for the movie, a dark comedy [...]

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    Box Office: 'Hustlers' Racks Up Solid $33 Million Debut, 'Goldfinch' Bombs

    “Hustlers” rolled in the Benjamins this weekend, collecting $33.2 million when it debuted in 3,250 North American theaters. Boosted by rave reviews and stellar word of mouth, “Hustlers” beat expectations and now ranks as the best start for an STX film, along with the biggest live-action opening weekend for stars Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu. [...]

  • German Cinema Is Diverse, But Is

    German Cinema Is Varied, But Is It Too Risk Averse?

    One of the strengths of German cinema is its diversity, says Simone Baumann, managing director of the national film promotion agency German Films. As well as the three films at Toronto directed by female German helmers, there was also German filmmaker Thomas Heise’s documentary film essay “Heimat Is a Space in Time.” Then there were [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content