LOS ANGELES – When a tragedy occurs, Hollywood typically cancels shows, movies and advertisements that it considers too violent or insensitive to victims. But in the aftermath of last week’s Charleston shooting – despite a stream of tweets in which everyone from Chris Pratt to Taylor Swift sent their condolences – the entertainment industry made no moves to put even a temporary lid on violent content.
“Where once Hollywood would often rush to delay or squelch TV and film projects featuring acts of violence out of a presumed sensibility toward the national psyche in the wake of a mass shooting, as such incidents have become more and more commonplace it seems that it's now more often business as usual in show business,” Los Angeles-based pop culture critic Scott Huver told FOX411.
“Particularly in the wake of Charleston, there's been no word of any alteration of the release dates of any projects that might [contain] heightened, glorified or gratuitous violence.”
A slew of changes took place immediately after 20 children and six school staffers were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012:
--NBC yanked a holiday special starring Blake Shelton that featured an animated segment about a reindeer killing.
--Showtime added a special warning before the season finales of its hit thrillers “Homeland” and “Dexter.”
--HBO postponed airing the crime thriller “Contraband.”
--TLC delayed the broadcast of “Best Funeral Ever.”
--Fox pulled an episode of “American Dad” that depicted gunplay and quashed promotions for “The Following,” which centered on a police officer’s hunt for a callous killer.
--Paramount canned premiere events for “Jack Reacher,” as did Harvey Weinstein for “Django Unchained” and Fox for “Parental Guidance.”
Earlier that year, in July, Warner Bros. made the unprecedented decision not to release box office statistics for “The Dark Knight Rises” after 12 people were killed and 70 were wounded in an Aurora, Colo., theater that was premiering the film. Warner Bros. also pulled the plug on the movie’s Paris premiere, and it announced plot changes and pushed back the release date of “Gangster Squad.”
And in February that year, the shooting death of Trayvon Martin led 20th Century Fox to remove all trailers and scrub promotional posters for the Ben Stiller/Vince Vaughn comedy “Neighborhood Watch.”
But three years later, the likes of gun-heavy, gory “Terminator 3: Genisys” and “Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation” are still slated to hit theaters next month, and explosive new trailers and promotional materials for the films have continued to run. An array of new television shows, including Discovery’s “Fear Thy Neighbor” and “Southern Fried Homicide,” remain fixed on their schedules, and HBO went ahead with Sunday’s premiere of the routinely savage “True Detective.”
So why are things different this time?
“The stakes are higher than ever for studio and network fare in particular,” Huver said. “The current climate of high budgets and do-or-die opening weekends may be so fraught with potential for big failure that any deviation from the established plan – even in the name of public sensitivity – is a consideration for only the most extreme cases.”
Film producer Madison Jones offers a simpler reason: “There is so much violence that the industry is numb to it and doesn’t recognize any connection between art and life anymore.”