Friday, February 08, 2013

We need more time to tell

In today's Washington Post, Ann Hornaday wonders if, and hopes that, movie viewers are rejecting violence. Her argument for is that, after Sandy Hook, although "Django Unchained" was a smash hit, "in short order, "Gangster Squad," "The Last Stand," "Parker," "Bullet to the Head," and "Stand Up Guys" tanked."

Yeah, maybe so. But it's way too early to tell if that means anything other than those movies had abysmal luck with opening dates. After all, "The Bourne Identity" was in post-production in September 2001. Frank Marshall, the producer, quickly determined that a new ending (no building being blown up) needed to be filmed immediately. On the special features part of the DVD he said,
"We all had to take a step back and reconsider everything, and I think everyone in the movie business did."
Tony Gilroy, screenwriter, added,
"Everyone pretty much accepted that explosions in movies were over, that there would probably never be another film that had an explosion in it."
Sounds good, sounds convincing. But they themselves were blowing up all kinds of things in the next movie, and frankly I'm not sure anybody could really tell that explosions were ever out of favor.

So sure, in the two months immediately after Sandy Hook people were revolted by gunplay in movies. The question is: how long will that revulsion last? It didn't linger long after Columbine.

Maybe this time is different. But probably it's not. And either way, it's far too early to call.

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