After Las Vegas Shooting, Hollywood Criticized for Gun Violence in Top Films

Christian Black
'American Assassin'

Films such as 'Kingsman: The Golden Circle' and 'American Assassin' featured numerous examples of gun violence, according to a conservative watchdog.

Hollywood is being criticized for hypocrisy for calling for gun control after a mass-murderer killed dozens of people at a country music concert in Las Vegas, given the amount of violence it showed on movie screens the week prior to the Oct. 1 massacre.

From Sept. 22-28, the four top live-action movies — Kingsman: The Golden Circle, American Assassin, It and mother! — contained 212 incidents of gun violence, 108 of them involving automatic weapons similar to the ones used by Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock, according to a conservative watchdog, the Media Research Center.

The MRC was founded in 1987 by Brent Bozell, who also founded the Parents Television Council and is a regular guest on the Fox News Channel. The MRC often criticizes the entertainment industry for what it perceives as liberal bias. In this case, the impetus for the study was to note the amount of what the group says is glorified violence that was in theaters prior to Paddock's rampage.

The MRC says the total body count in the four biggest live-action films during the chosen timeframe was 192. The company looked at the top five movies but did not count instances of violence in The Lego Ninjago Movie because it is animated.

"Three of the top five movies at the box office featured characters blasting away with automatic weapons. Two — Kingsman and American Assassin — included so many examples of such violence that the numbers were difficult to count," says the study.

The MRC is set to release its report wide on Wednesday, and its point is to make Hollywood appear hypocritical, given that so many actors are calling for more gun control but are not calling for Hollywood to churn out less onscreen violence. 

The MRC describes some of the mayhem in the four movies, saying, for example, that mother! "kills off 56 people with explosions, body slams, punches, people being pushed down stairs and, of course, there's a crowd disembowelling and eating a baby."

The MRC also notes that "part-time gun activist" Julianne Moore stars in Kingsman, which features 118 acts of gun violence, 70 with automatic weapons.

When counting acts of violence whether or not they ended in death, the number rises to 589 for the four films.

"When Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein still thought he could bluster through a deluge of sexual abuse allegations, he declared he 'would need a place to channel my anger. So I've decided I'm going to give the NRA my full attention,'" said the MRC's Matt Philbin. "It was the perfect Hollywood ploy — target the guns, not the media companies that feed them to Americans in endless streams of bloodshed."

It's not the first time the MRC has tried tying Hollywood films to real-life violence. In the top five movies after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, for example, the MRC counted 185 scenes of violence, it said at the time.