Photo: Universal Pictures (Getty).
People love their gun-toting heroes and action films. This much is obvious just by taking a look at general American cinema. What might surprise you, though, is that there seems to be an actual correlation between actors carrying guns in their movies and being worth a lot of money. This can likely be attributed to either the stereotypical American obsession with guns having some actual truth in it, or gunslingers often being associated with swift justice in a way that appeals to an audience’s sense of morality.
The More Guns Actors Use On Film, The More Marketable They Are
Regardless of why it happens, it’s hard to deny that there does seem to be a relationship between gun usage and bank-making skills when in terms of movie stars. For instance, actors Denzel Washington and Bruce Willis use guns in nearly every movie they’re in (with Willis using them in roughly a whopping 60 movies now) and they score higher on the Ulmer scale. For those not in the know, the Ulmer scale is essentially a measure of how marketable an actor or actress is (therefore, a high score is a good thing). That means that putting them in a movie is practically a guarantee it will sell to audiences.
It is important to note that these results are not perfectly concrete. After all, correlation is not the same thing as causation, so to link them so directly would be a logical fallacy. Only 72 actors were used in the The Economist study that came up with these results, so a larger sample size may be needed before any solid conclusions can be drawn. On top of this, some actors like Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts did score significantly higher than their comparatively frequently gun carrying counterparts, so guns are clearly not the end-all-be-all of super stardom. After all, putting a prop gun in the hands of the average Mandatory writer and filming them trying to act would most likely lead to cheap laughs rather than a ticket to a Hollywood studio.
With that qualification out of the way, the question now is what are we to do with this information? Well… watch more movies with guns in them for one, but also stop and consider why you’re doing it. There’s nothing wrong with watching movies with guns in them and a lot of times they’re really awesome, but it’s also true that if all you watch is gun violence on film then you’re probably missing out on a lot of other, equally awesome stuff. That’s nothing to worry about, but it is something to factor in next time you’re faced with a decision about what movie to go see in theaters.
via The Economist