thewrap.com reports that Taken 3 beat the bejesus out of Selma at the box office this weekend, grossing $40.4m. American audiences love their gun-toting heroes, and have done since they were in short pants. While gun control advocates go on and on about the dangers of guns, Hollywood heroes beat bad guys with ballistic aplomb. How can gun control fight that? Well . . . Taken 3 raked in another $40m overseas, where governments deny their citizens and subjects their natural right to armed self-defense. So big screen pro-gun “propaganda” and anti-gun animus can co-exist. But do gun-heavy flicks resonate differently here in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave? Does it mean we’re winning here?

44 Responses to Question of the Day: How Can Gun Rights Lose If It Wins at the Box Office?

    • “Liam’s biggest career pay day by far has not surprisingly come from the surprise hit Taken trilogy. The highest paycheck Liam has ever received is the $20 million he is set to make for Taken 3. He made $5 million for Taken 1 and $15 million for Taken 2. That brings his total TAKE (get it??) before taxes, for the Taken franchise to $40 million.”

      LN’s net worth is estimated at $75 million. According to IMDB, he has 108 acting credits dating back to 1978, and 53% of this ungodly amount of money, from only 3 films, is directly from gun bling flicks.

      Geez.

    • Liam Neeson. Don’t you just love it when anti-gun actors play bigots on the big screen in a big way with a gun action movie?

      IMO, gun action movies are a mixed bag.

      On the one hand, when the gun action is realistically portrayed in movies and prime time TV with all the true mechanical, physical and moral (ROE) use limitations involved, ok; it’s not providing fantastical, easily exploited misleading background for the anti-gun crowd to manipulate in their false claims about gun and gun users’ outlandish capabilities. ‘Machine guns’ everywhere?

      On the other hand, even the truly bizarre scenes of gunplay in some of the clearly fictional fantasy action movies promotes the ‘love affair’ many Americans have with our historically gun reliant heritage.

      Where I have a problem with actors using guns in movies and TV is when they are being abused in ostensibly real life circumstances in ways that are not representative of real life limitations.

      • How often in all his ‘action’ does aging anti-gun Neeson stop for even a breath?

        Laugh!

        He’s living a rich fantasy in more ways than one.

  1. Movies don’t have much to do with the pro-gun side except for clear cut good/evil movies like Quigley or the older True Grit. It’s a mental escape for most people, not an impetus to go out and buy and think.

  2. A gun is a shorthand way of creating conflict without having a writer think too hard.

    Take a look at the Dawn of the Dead 2004 reboot and the film 28 Days Later. Which was the better film? In Dawn of the Dead a gun can be used as a crutch for good writing to help the characters get from point A to point B.

    In 28 Days Later, which was set in the gun-free UK, the characters actually had to think their way out of situations and improvise.

    • I totally disagree. I don’t think near as much thought is put into it in that way. The movies reflect reality (somewhat), in that in the US, survivors of such an apocalypse would be armed with guns. In Britain they wouldn’t. You couldn’t write a gun free apocalypse story in the US. Not possible.

    • A huge number of standard plots go straight out the window if you allow for successful self-defense. The entire slasher genre – gone. Rescue driven action plots – gone. Town terrorized by thugs, saved by white knight(s) – gone.

      Because of Chekhov’s Gun, we never see guns in fiction like they exist in reality, as just another object. If a gun appears, it’s going to get used or otherwise be important. That’s mostly not to waste the audience’s time, but I’d love to see that violated a few times, as a red herring. Show a character put on a gun and have nothing happen with it.

  3. The answer to your question is no. Most of those “gun movies” star people who are anti gun. So while the movie made 40.4 mil here, the stars will use their money and fame to bash gun rights. TTAG show this all the time.

  4. No because it does not “trickle down” into the real world. Pro wrestling also makes a lot of money, has many fans, and been popular for decades, but has nothing to do with life on the street. I don’t see street gangs setting up a “ladder and chairs” match with their rival gang.

  5. Liam Neeson hates the fact that Americans enjoy private gun ownership .. as if that’s the reason there is so much violence in the world. I think his movies do more to promote that violence, and our gun ownership by regular civilians actually reduces that violence in our communities! At least that’s my interpretation of the facts.

  6. When movies and television portray a “hero” using a firearm to save the day, they always cast the “hero” as a government operative (spy), policeman, or soldier with 20,000 hours of training and special skills that mere citizens could never match.

    The only movie or television that even comes close to portraying an average joe using a firearm for self-defense was the Death Wish franchise with Charles Bronson. And even then, they portrayed Bronson’s character as an unstable, psycho vigilante.

    This constant assault reinforces the notion of the “only ones” … the only ones who should carry firearms are government employees.

    • Totally agree with this guy – movies like Taken totally fit the BS media line, he is able to defend himself and family with a gun because HE IS AN ELITE TRAINED former government person. (of course the real training is the tradecraft, not the weapons expertise). It’s very much like the media’s reaction to the Paris killers – “Oh my gosh they must be so well trained because they kept 15 rounds from an AK on a windshield at ten yards.” Whatever.

    • The original Death Wish began by reflecting what (I believe) most NY’ers and other residents of big cities wanted (and still want) — for public spaces to be made safe by whatever means necessary, including vigilante action when it is clear that the police and prosecutors are hamstrung. Only difference between the original Death Wish and the original Dirty Harry was the badge, or lack thereof. It was just less politically incorrect to express that position a few decades ago.

  7. We are winning in spite of Hollywood. Or maybe in some small part because of Hollywood. After all, every time some air head celebs rails against our rights POTG are energized once again.

    And who knows for sure what effect the guns on the screen have? I’ve seen many TTAG commentors state how they were made interested in guns because of video games. Maybe movies have the same effect on people.

    I know after watching Zulu I wanted a Webley and a Martini Henry very badly. Got the Wbley, never got the Martini.

  8. Hilarious hypocrite.

    “There are too many F***ing guns out there, especially in America” – Liam Neeson

    There’s over 300 million guns. Privately owned, in America. I think it’s a f***ing disgrace.” – Liam Neeson

    “I am totally for gun control in the US. The population of America is roughly 300 million and there are 300 million guns in this country, which is terrifying. Every day we’re seeing some kid running rampant in a school. And do you know what the gun lobby’s response to Newtown was? The National Rifle Association’s official response was ‘If that teacher had been armed…’ It’s crazy. I’ll give Britain its dues, when they had the Dunblane massacre in Scotland, within 24 hours the gun laws were changed so you could not have a handgun.” – Liam Neeson

    “It is the right to bear arms which is the problem. I think if the Founding Fathers knew what was happening they would be turning in their graves with embarrassment at how that law has been interpreted.” – Liam Neeson

    Yay… Liam Neeson.

  9. It’s because the ones up on the silver screen putting holes in bad guys are often the exact same people screaming the loudest for gun control.

  10. We (pro 2nd amendment) can win a open debate. That’s why the anti-gun peeps keep changing the conversation and their tactics. When uninhibited by ethics they can change anything,but we can only speak the truth. That places us at a disadvantage because they can always say “yeah I heard that before” because the truth doesn’t change. We could employ this tactic also because gun control is their answer to any problem.

  11. People like Neeson have absolutely no convictions. They rant and rave about their anti point of view then they contribute to the very thing they hate by popularly depicting gun-toting heroes in media.

    Just a different class of whore.

  12. Did Liam Neeson write an amicus brief for Heller? Did the Heller court cite Taken? Or maybe Peruta? After all, it was in much closer proximity to Hollywood and its writers.

    Movies are… movies. They are fantasy, and even when ostensibly pro-gun, generally portray guns in fantastical ways – just as movies portray everything and everyone else in similarly fantastical ways.

    Movies don’t drive public policy, even as their success and failure can be a reflection of general culture.

    • True, movies aren’t necessarily going to convert anyone to pro-gun thinking, but if you show acceptance of violence on screen but not in real life, that makes you a great hypocrite. It is like watching gladiators murder each other for entertainment, but then condemning it outside the arena and acting completely shocked and repelled. It is dishonest.

      For actors who condemn guns in real life, but then don’t support that stance through declining roles that depict violence or gratuitous gun use: they are SELLOUTS!! Their opinion has no weight to it, and I cannot take such paper dolls seriously.

  13. Looked up the plot, seriously? While I think complaints about “fridging” are mostly dumb if wikipedia is to be believed this has to be about the most obvious unsurprising plot ever.

  14. I have better ways to spend my time and my money than watching “Liam Neeson Kills Everyone in the Room Again 3”. Complete Douche.

  15. 1. Adults (including me) may also like this kind of film, but it’s well known that these kind of shoot ’em ups are targeted at teenage boys.

    2. People see what they want to see in a film. We see the power of guns and their potential for good, antis see how easily “average” people can be victimized by them and their potential for evil. I doubt any minds get changed one way or another.

    3. Actors like LN live in a different world than we do. It is all make believe to them. Guns are props, nothing more. It also helps their careers to pander to the liberal bent in Hollywood.

    4. I think gun rights would only win at the box office if there were a highly rated film about a normal guy or gal using a gun to successfully defeat an attack by a very scary bad guy and in the end come out as a hero. Sound exciting? No, I probably wouldn’t go see that film either.

  16. “It is the right to bear arms which is the problem. I think if the Founding Fathers knew what was happening they would be turning in their graves with embarrassment at how that law has been interpreted.” – Liam Neeson

    Note to Liam: Methinks thou dost protest too much.

    Rush hit the nail on the head on his radio show just a few minutes ago. Guys like Neeson use incidents like the Paris killings as excuses to make rote statements like “there are too many f***ing guns” because they are just trying to appeal to the social elites they most aspire to belong to. They have no real meaning and no intent beyond showing allegiance to membership in the “right” group. Mr. Neeson isn’t known for having strong opinions on gun-control and—dare I say it—seems otherwise entirely at ease earning his living making films involving extreme violence . . . using the selfsame guns guns (and doing the selfsame things) he complains about.

    Like most movie stars, the good Mr. Neeson’s contribution to this discussion is typically ephemeral and carries all the intellectual weight of someone desperate for inclusion in a group which probably thinks of him as a somewhat tawdry outsider..

    Oh, yeah. “Taken 3” sucks.

  17. We lose with the next generation who are placed in an education system that has censored any normal exposure to firearms and shooting sports and had vilified the concept of self defense. Thus the only exposure to guns that many children see is in violent movies and video games. The only people they see with guns are bad guys and heroes who are associated with the government in some way.

    • Unless they are People Of The Gun in which case they’ll learn both the lore and practical reality of gun ownership like most of us did—from their parents and the people around them. Fortunately, POTG is a growing population so perhaps there’s still hope.

  18. I just read a recent statement from Liam. Here is my rebuttal. Liam, I was born here, and you were not. If you cannot respect my rights as outlined in the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution, then you do not belong here. As far as I am concerned, other than supporting an amendment to the Constitution to remove the 2nd amendment, any effort to take that right away from me by a US citizen is treason, and if by a foreigner, it is an act of war. So, Liam, make your choice — respect the Constitution or leave. What! Did you think that by coming to the US to make a few movies that the people of the US would somehow adopt your Tory ideology? The nerve of these foreign dweebs.

    • Co-signed.

      If you weren’t born here, keep your damn mouth shut about how our country is run. It’s our constitution. I’m so sick of all this traitorous crap that these people get away with because of being granted the first amendment. Having the first amendment does not mean you get to try to dismantle the second.

  19. What’s funny is that he played Schindler and still thinks it’s a good idea to allow only the gov to have weapons. How’d that work out?

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