With a staunch Second Amendment supporter preparing to enter the Oval Office, Hollywood is ramping up its gun control efforts. The latest attempt comes in the form of “Miss Sloane,” a movie demonizing gun manufacturers and the gun lobby, as the main character Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain) fights to heroically curb gun rights.
It’s not exactly the critical darling or box office hit the makers likely expected (its release even got pushed up by two weeks), but that will mean little to other producers. Harvey Weinstein already has a similar film in the works with Meryl Streep called “The Senator’s Wife.” Weinstein previously stated the movie would make the NRA “wish they weren’t alive.”
For now, there’s “Miss Sloane,” which scored 72 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Screenwriter Jonathan Perera said his inspiration for “Sloane” came from Weinstein’s public words about his own impending gun control movie, according to a piece in The Daily Beast.
What’s ironic is that the promise from Weinstein came in a 2014 interview with Piers Morgan, in which he also promised to scale down gun violence in the films he produces. A year later came Quentin Tarantino’s ultra-violent “The Hateful Eight” — produced by Tarantino’s longtime business partner, Weinstein.
Following the mixed critical response of “Miss Sloane” was an only so-so opening in theaters. Earning an estimated $63,000 over the weekend from three theaters, the film had a word-of-mouth campaign (it opens wide on Dec. 9) that is not off to nearly as good of a start as other films that have implemented the slow roll-out strategy — such as “American Sniper.”
Americans simply don’t want these preachy stories of gun control. They are ready to move on and have real conversations about mental health and culture, while Hollywood descends further into ideology. Aside from “Sloane” hitting theaters, groups like Everytown for Gun Safety have been collaborating with creators on storylines that promote gun restrictions. Everytown helped with a gun control storyline in season four of Netflix’s “House of Cards,” while another gun control group, the Brady Campaign, helped with an episode of “The Good Wife.”
“Gun safety has never had more allies in the creative community than it does right now,” Jason Rzepka, director of cultural engagement at Everytown for Gun Safety, told The Daily Beast.
Despite those allies in the creative community and those ties growing deeper and deeper, the American people are on a different page. A Gallup poll from October found the number of Americans who want an assault weapons ban hit a record low.
“The fewest Americans in 20 years favor making it illegal to manufacture, sell, or possess semi-automatic guns known as assault rifles. Thirty-six percent now want an assault weapons ban, down from 44 percent in 2012 and 57 percent when Gallup first asked the question in 1996,” according to the findings.
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There’s a major reason significant gun legislation hasn’t passed through Congress — and why Obama has taken to executive orders to do what he wants. There’s also a major reason Donald Trump, the president-elect, will enter office with a controlled House and Senate. People have made their thoughts known on their gun rights — yet Hollywood continues to have a one-sided conversation with itself, refusing to evolve the rhetoric in any way.
“Miss Sloane” makes a hero out of an anti-gun lobbyist in a slick Hollywood production, but it won’t change any minds. Groups like Everytown can work as hard as they like to influence public opinion — but it won’t help. “Miss Sloane” is unfortunately a sign of things to come with Hollywood. This group of individuals refuses to accept defeat and will stop at nothing to convince Americans of something they already know helps no one.