Times Union
Albany, NY
September 6, 1999

Survey: Movies, TV should drop their weapons

Gunplay is hardly the best way to attract television and movie audiences, according to a survey commissioned by an entertainment industry group.

Viewers rated gun violence last on a list of characteristics that would attract them to a movie or TV show and first among factors that would make them avoid a production, the Entertainment Industries Council says.

You would think, from just the prevalence of guns on the screen, that the entertainment industry must think they're filling some kind of need. But audiences don't want that kind of bang for their buck- literally, says Barbara Lurie, the council's director of programs and research..

The survey results were presented last month at a forum that discussed useful contributions Hollywood might make in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.

We've seen Hollywood's response from a patriotic point of view. What I'm hoping to see happen is an additional consciousness beyond what we've seen so far, EIC President and CEO Brian Dyak says.

The 462 participants in the gun-violence survey were split between adults (55 percent) and teens 13-17 (45 percent). Teens were less turned off by gun violence than their elders.

Humor, followed by special effects, adventure and mystery, were top draws for a movie or TV show for at least three-quarters of viewers, while gun violence appealed only to 19 percent. Fifty-seven percent of women said gun violence would make them skip a movie or TV show, compared with 27 percent of males.

The EIC, formed partly in response to criticism of Hollywood's depiction of drug and alcohol use, aims for accurate presentations of health and social issues.