HOLLYWOOD is spurning ultra-violent films in favour of family entertainment, writes Phil Reeves.
After years of criticism, studios are cutting out scenes that are considered too bloodthirsty. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the world's biggest box office attraction, has insisted that his latest blockbuster The Last Action Hero, due to open in the United States on 18 June and in Britain in July, reflects the mood of opposition to violence. Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park has toned down gory scenes from the novel on which it was based.
Despite a vigorous campaign against violence in films and on television, industry analysts attribute the change in mood to the realisation that the market in family films has been under-exploited.
A survey found that family rated films were three times as likely to gross more than dollars 100m in the US market than those that were R-rated (restricted).
Schwarzenegger, who has appeared in a series of films criticised for violence, has banned manufacturers of toy dolls promoting Last Action Hero from equipping them with weapons. Their replacements include a Schwarzenegger doll carrying a warning about the dangers of guns.
There is, however, some scepticism about how long Hollywood will maintain its interest in family fare. The US's National Coalition on Television Violence has described the trend as a smokescreen and the Michael Douglas film Falling Down, which opened last week in Britain, has been attacked for its violence.
Inside Story, page 19