A year ago came results of a study that indicated PG-13 rated films actually sport more violence than their R-rated equivalents and have done so since 2009. Now, a new study for the British Medical Journal has offered a similar-style result that shatters assumptions.
The study compared 45 top-grossing children’s animated films against 90 top-grossing adult-oriented dramatic films. Sequels were excluded, as were movies in which the main characters were neither human nor animal (eg. toys, aliens). The films spanned across every decade from the 1930s through until last year, and the adult movies excluded action and adventure movies as those are frequently targeted at kids.
The result? It seems that animated children’s movies sport more character deaths than grown-up dramatic films. In fact, the murder rate in cartoon films is nearly three times that of the murder rate of adult movies. Approximately two-thirds of children’s animated films contained an on-screen death of an important character, compared with half of the comparison’s adult films.
Common causes of death in children’s animated films included animal attacks and falls (intentional or not). In adult films it was more likely to be gunshots, auto accidents and illnesses. The researchers conclusion? “Children’s animated films, rather than being innocuous alternatives to the gore and carnage typical of American films, are in fact hotbeds of murder and mayhem.” Amen.