Do you think there is gun-placement in movies?


November 17, 2004, 10:47 PM
Product placement has become absolutely huge in movies and other media in the past few decades, as I'm sure you're all aware. Having your corporate logo or product in a popular TV show or move is an incredible advertising oppurtunity to any corporation that sells to the public, and even without sales, product placement certainly heightens brand awareness and consumer perception.

My question is that while although product placement is undoubtably huge for things such as sodas, cars, watches, and other common consumer items, I'm not quite sure about guns. Granted, guns are often portrayed in a negative light in movies--the use (in movies) of guns is almost always in some scene of violence (granted, sometimes heroism), and perhaps gun manufactures don't want that image associated with their products. However, some guns in movies have become very close to the character that uses them, and in no doubt rouse a huge interest from the public in those guns. Take for instance Dirty Harry, with his .44 magnum. I was watching a show on the history channel about magnum cartridges, and apparently that after that movie was released, the sales of the .44 magnum absolutely shot through the roof; everybody wanted Clint Eastwood's preferred revolver. Also, James Bond. Even those who don't even carry a slight interest in shooting or guns can probably tell you that Walther makes James Bond's sidearm of choice, and the Walther PPK (and I guess, more recently, the P99) is now almost always associated in non-gun circles with spies and government agents, regardless of its actual popularity with intelligence agencies.

Anyway, I really think that placement of guns in movies, even if not actually paid for by Walther, Smith & Wesson, or what have you, is a huge source of sales for gun makers--especially those whom otherwise may not be known (Colt guns are famous because of their huge intertwining in American culture, however, Glocks probably generate a vast proportion of consumer attention through the media). Do you guys here think that product placement is very big with guns? If so, is it a good idea (I wouldn't want someone buying a Glock just because they want to be like Jason Bourne; I'd hope they'd actually take time to know how to use a gun and especially one as unique as a Glock...then again, that's what the laws are for)?

If you enjoyed reading about "Do you think there is gun-placement in movies?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
November 17, 2004, 10:51 PM
In a word....heck yes. I believe that "technical" instruction is provided as well as dummy guns for propps etc. Product placement in movies most definantly extends to guns.

November 17, 2004, 11:10 PM
The Tomb Raider movies and the Alien Vs Predator were quite literally H&K advertisements.

November 17, 2004, 11:15 PM
Well, that settles that! :)

Considering that the H&K products featured (I think, at least) were G36s and other civilian-off-limits rifles, I wonder what H&K hoped to gain? Just positive consumer preception?

November 17, 2004, 11:18 PM
I many people can actually identify different types of guns in movies? Other than people that are already into the sport, most of the population can't tell the difference between a Sig and an HK (or any other combination). THR members aside, the total audience that would pick up on such placement is pretty small. It's not like putting a bag of Doritos on screen. You'd have to ask the gun companies if it's worth the money to put their products in movies.

So basically, I have no idea :rolleyes:

Jim K
November 17, 2004, 11:59 PM
I agree with Tension. Not enough people will recognize the guns, and most makers don't really want "advertising" that shows their guns in the hands of the bad guys. Plus many movie guns are so "worked over" that they are almost unrecognizable anyway. (How many folks spotted the Sterlings and Lewis guns in Star Wars?)

"Dirty Harry" was an exception since the character made much of the caliber and its power, and sales went through the roof. But I doubt any other movie gun use has had that kind of impact on sales.


Old Fud
November 18, 2004, 12:02 AM
I believe I read a blurb about S&W just within this past week that spoke of a marketing drive to increase placement in Hollywood movies.

November 18, 2004, 12:18 AM
There are several companies that rent guns for movies, they set up a package deal, real guns converted to blank only use, rubber dummies to use in stunt work, the blank ammo and the on site expert to manage and maintain them. There have been several stories on the various TV shooting shows about these, they have appeared numerous times on both American Shooter and Shooting Gallery.

November 18, 2004, 12:23 AM
Based on talking with some friends in the Hollywierd scene, it appears that the biggest factor in firearms selection is twofold:

1. It must be BIG, so as to show up easily on screen;

2. It must be appropriate to the period of the film - i.e old-fashioned looking, or waaay futuristic, or fantasy-like (i.e. the Mauser Broomhandles that got transmogrified into blasters in the Star Wars trilogy).

Other than that, I don't know how much product placement plays a part in getting the "right" guns into movies.

November 18, 2004, 12:55 AM
Even though a huge % of the movie goers wouldn't know one gun from another, I'd think that it's worth it for the gun companies to pay to have their products placed in movies. The target audience for such advertisements would be able to tell the difference between a 1911, Sig, Glock, Beretta, etc. and would definitely be influenced in the same way that anyone watching any other sort of advertisement directed at them would be.

That being said, I do own a 1911 and a Beretta, not because they're good in my hands (or even fit my hands), but because of the media advertising. I mean when it's Beretta this, 1911 that, over and over, how is one to resist!? :rolleyes:

Besides, weren't there posts about this a few months ago?

November 18, 2004, 01:24 AM
I doubt that product placement plays any role in movie gun choices.

The fact that some movies ,by pure chance , push the right consumer button would be completely out of the advertisers control. Merely having a Smith & Wesson armed dirty Harry did not push that button. The way the firearm was portayed in the movie was more the key.

For Example: In the movie Jeremia Johnson the highlight was on the .50 caliber Hawkins rifle. The sales of .50 cal. muzzleloading rifles went up after the movie, but you could not relate that to a particular brand.
I don't see the movies writing in particular buzz to advertise a specific gun company's product ,and not enough viewers would know the difference in brand to make a company fork out advertising dollars for such a hit/miss .

When an actor drinks a coke, you can recognize it is a coke by color and label. Take a 100 people to a movie and find out how many of them recognize the type of firearm being used in a scene - and those that do recognize what it is have already been reached !

November 18, 2004, 01:43 AM
Shooters aren't the only ones who will recognize a particular brand or model of firearm in a movie.

As video games have become increasingly complex they have taken to using real-world gun designs, and most games tend to have at least something of a blurb about who made it and what its called.

For example, look at how popular the Desert Eagle has become as a result of its placement in (ugh) Counterstrike.

Same goes for other games, like the inclusion of the Walther WA2000 in the Splinter Cell games or the HK USP in virtually any other game.

November 18, 2004, 02:09 AM
I agree with Justin.
I think video games are alot bigger area than movies. Alot have a pre-mission selection where you can pick what you want to carry and others tell you which weapon you have in use somewhere on the screen. Seeing the name HK in print on the screen would have more of an impact than seeing a HK in someone's hand.

November 18, 2004, 02:15 AM
I had the same thought after seeing SWAT and the Kimbers they used. I know LA SWAT is really issued Kimbers but reality doesn't always matter to Hollywierd. I know quite a few none shooting people noticed and expressed interest about Quigly's Sharps when that film came out. It was almost a commercial for that rifle.

November 18, 2004, 03:04 AM
I doubt it because movie makers don't care about branding much at all when it comes to guns. They just want what looks good on film.

They don't ever worry about the brand of gun being used when someone in the movie murders an innocent person but they worry big time when it comes to other real products being shown in a negative light. I was just watching the making of Dawn of the Dead and they were talking about how they wanted to use real stores in the mall but their lawyers wouldn't let them because they were worried about getting sued if a Zombie got splattered next to a company logo.

November 18, 2004, 07:36 AM
I had the same thought after seeing SWAT and the Kimbers they used. I know LA SWAT is really issued Kimbers but reality doesn't always matter to Hollywierd. I know quite a few none shooting people noticed and expressed interest about Quigly's Sharps when that film came out. It was almost a commercial for that rifle.

I know LAPD SWAT uses Kimbers, but I'm almost certain they were using Springfields in the movie. I remember seeing the SA emblem clearly at least a few times.

November 18, 2004, 07:47 AM
I doubt that the gun manufacturers are working directly with the movie makers, more likely they are working with the armorers that supply Hollywood. They do have a lot ot gain, look at how Beretta sales jumped after Die Hard and Lethal Weapon, or Desert Eagles after The Matrix.


Zach S
November 18, 2004, 07:51 AM
I never noticed a SA emblem. I'll have to keep an eye out next time I see it.

Samuel L. Jackson did have a Kimber at one point though, someone at Kimber posted a pic of him on set with one at I'll see if I can dig it up.

[edit] Adding pic.

November 18, 2004, 08:58 AM
I bet Die Hard 2 sold a bunch of those porcelain Glock 7s.

Henry Bowman
November 18, 2004, 09:03 AM
It wasn't until I saw Predator that I even knew how much I needed a GE Minigun. :D

November 18, 2004, 09:13 AM
I would imagine that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. After all, look how Dirty harry made Smith Model 29 sales shoot through the roof. I know John Milius is a gun knowledgable director, so his choice was not likely made on appearance alone. However, when you see (from ths ads at least) Demi Moore packing a pair of Desert eagles in the Charlie's Angels flick, you know appearance plays a big role.

I think the bigger question is whether any of us have made a gun purchase based upon a film? I will admit that after seeing "48 Hours", I fell in love with the Smith Model 19 with the 2.5 inch barrel. Loved the appearance when Eddie Murphy was carrying it, and eventually got one.

As for realism, I think there is somethig to say for Hollywood keeping close to reality, at least among the better/more expensive films. This explains the Kahr appearing in the "Shaft" film, and the proper Sigs in "In the Line of Fire". But, it's a lot more common (and even more fun) to see the mistakes and bad choices, so we can pick on them. Arnold carrying a Beretta 92 in an ankle rig in Kindergarten Cop? Please!

November 18, 2004, 09:36 AM
I definitely believe that having a particular brand and model of gun helps sales. For the newbie to guns, seeing the same gun used over and over creates the impression that it must be good or the current "hot" product. There are many gun buyers that don't visit forums such as this and buy based on whatever seems to be the latest rage. I've seen them many times in the gun shops and have overheard their statements that support this. It wasn't that many years ago when Berettas were seen repeatedly in a variety of very popular movies. I am of the opinion that the exposure Beretta received contributed to their popularity. For the person that isn't currently into guns but later decides to buy one for whatever reason I would imagine that many of these individuals go looking and asking about the gun they saw in such and such a movie e.i. "what was that gun Mel Gibson used in Lethal Weapon, it looked really cool."

Robert J McElwain
November 18, 2004, 09:42 AM
Suppose "Dirty Harry" had said "This is a Sturm, Ruger Super Redhawk, in .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun.........? Who would have been selling out their inventory?


November 18, 2004, 11:23 AM
The animé Gunsmith Cats was virtually a three-episode, 90-minute infomercial for the CZ 75.

(And it worked too--I am currently on my seventh CZ pistol.)


Red Tornado
November 18, 2004, 12:12 PM
Well, after seeing Enemy at the Gates, it was absolutely essential that I have a Mosin Nagent 91/30. Other than that, I don't think I've had any movie influenced firearm purchases. Those blasted Russians, look how many Mosins they've sold with that placement! :p

November 18, 2004, 12:27 PM
I don't know how much it happens, but I know that it does happen.

Anybody that has the first Spider-man movie on DVD should pop it in and look at it. It's a Beretta commercial, basically.


Gordon Fink
November 18, 2004, 01:25 PM
In the commentary for the Dawn of the Dead (2004) DVD, the director and producer talk about how the firearms used in the movie were selected. The prop master apparently wanted to use Desert Eagles, but the director insisted on guns that the characters might really have, which is how they ended up with .357-mag. revolvers, 9×19mm pistols, and a couple 12-ga. shotguns.

~G. Fink

November 18, 2004, 01:48 PM
Yes, it does happen although I can't say if it is intentional. I do know that dealer friends have, over the years, told me about the numbers of Beretta 92s and other guns they've sold to people who comment that they wanted a gun just like so-in-so carried in such-n-such movie. People may not generally be able to distinguish between Kimber and Springfield 1911s but they will buy some type of 1911.

I think this is why you see more of the newer - unique looking guns in movies. The makers want to be sure that their particular brand is readily identifiable.

Also, have you ever noticed that despite the loud speaking anti-gun rhetoric coming from hollywood that when just how many movie posters, and VHS/DVD jackets, all have the stars posing with some type of weapon? Hmmmm.

November 18, 2004, 03:41 PM
Stembridge Gun rentals of Hollywood, California, was formed in about 1920 by James Stembridge and Cecil B. DeMille to supply guns to the movie industry. The company is still in exsistance and is currently being run by Syd Stembridge whose father was the nephew of the founder.

Stembridge Gun Rentals Inc
431 Magnolia Ave
Glendale, CA 91204-2405
Phone: (818)246-4333

November 19, 2004, 12:50 AM
I'm going to have to say that it's very possible. I just watched "Man On Fire" the other night and got somewhere between 3-7 really good clear shots at the glock he favored. :scrutiny:

November 19, 2004, 02:56 AM

Thanks for the links!

I was under the impression that Stembridge had closed shop back in the early 1990's.

November 19, 2004, 04:35 AM
Heck yeah, it happens.
Check out this S&W news release

Smith & Wesson Goes Hollywood
SPRINGFIELD, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 15, 2004--Smith & Wesson (AMEX:SWB), the legendary 152-year old firearms manufacturer has announced the signing of Hollywood-based Norm Marshall Associates (NMA) as its exclusive agent for product placement and promotion in television and feature films. NMA will work with studios and production companies to get S&W branded products in many categories into the hands of America's entertainment hero's on-screen. S&W is the country's leading handgun producer; but is also a major supplier of eyewear, safes, knives, footwear, apparel and sports accessories.

"Norm Marshall is the entertainment marketing conduit for many top consumer brands in automotive, beverage and retail categories, and will be a powerful ally to us in spreading the Smith & Wesson brand message of security, protection and safety through the entertainment media," said Tom Taylor, VP Marketing for S&W. "In addition to targeting action movies, we will be seeking to place our products in TV programs like the three CSI series, Deadwood, Las Vegas, and other topical series where our heritage and authenticity fits the storyline," adds Taylor. "NMA's charter also includes keeping us out of programming that would undercut our commitment to gun safety. Their record of delivering the right brand message for their clients over 25 years is unsurpassed."

"Smith & Wesson has been an American icon of immense proportion since the 1850's and is as relevant today as any time in its history," said Norm Marshall, the NMA President. "With their brand strategy of surrounding the shooter with high quality performance and security products, they are a perfect complement to many of today's most popular programming. We have already penetrated several of the targeted TV series for Fall 2004, and expect to have S&W products amply represented in the Summer 2005 movie releases. S&W was the brand of Wild Bill Hickok, Buffalo Bill and Dirty Harry --- and is today a leading choice of law enforcement agencies worldwide. What producer of a "cop show" wouldn't want to feature such an authentic brand?"

November 19, 2004, 12:09 PM
"I doubt that the gun manufacturers are working directly with the movie makers, more likely they are working with the armorers that supply Hollywood. They do have a lot ot gain, look at how Beretta sales jumped after Die Hard and Lethal Weapon, or Desert Eagles after The Matrix."

When "Last Action Hero" was in production, the .50 AE came out and they HAD to get one for Ahnold. Both sides won with the deal. He got the biggest, hottest gun available and they got product placement for a brand new model in a blockbuster film. (OK, not such a win there but you know what I mean.)

November 19, 2004, 12:46 PM
The lib Hollywood crowd probably makes gun companies pay to avoid having their products be the KILLER GUN in film. What a great place. Make others pay for producing your crap. Damned if you do and damned if you don't with guns in Hollywood today. Only brutal sadistic "good guys" with guns, and even more brutal and sadistic bad guys have guns. Everyone else is just fodder for murder and collateral damage caused by the evil guns with minds that can control humans from afar.

November 19, 2004, 12:59 PM
The Aliens super-duper special edition DVD has a section on pre-production weapons development. The statement from one of the armory guys was simply something like "we needed blank-firing guns that went bang every time they were supposed to and had an impressive muzzle flash." He also displayed a pistol and said "This is the Heckler and Koch VP70. It's out of production but it still looks futuristic." Maybe in 1986 ;)

One warning, though... don't watch this featurette if you have any respect for Sigourney Weaver, as she makes some rather unbelievable comments with regards to the firearms. One question, babe: If you have such a strong moral objection to firearms being "glorified" in the movies, why did you star in this one? Oh yeah, the $$$. I guess we know what that makes you. :rolleyes:

November 19, 2004, 01:09 PM
The lib Hollywood crowd probably makes gun companies pay to avoid having their products be the KILLER GUN in film. What a great place. Make others pay for producing your crap.

And you have documentation to back this up? :scrutiny:

November 20, 2004, 04:07 AM
Stembridge Gun Rentals close in 1999. That is an old link to a genealogy website and it's outdated. From what I understand, the increasingly anti-gun atmosphere in Ca impacted the business and helped them decide to close.

Most of Stembridge's vast collection of Machine Guns were sold off. Long Mountain Outfitters handled, most, if not all, of the sales.

November 20, 2004, 10:08 AM
It might not always have been intentional, but it's probably always a consideration these days. PPKs still sell becasue of James Bond, and Garand demand went up after Saving Private Ryan.

November 20, 2004, 11:10 PM
You know SW might have got that started with "The Shield" Vic carries a big stainless 645 that looks pretty impressive.

And what about NYPD Blue? Andy still carries a 5-shot smth J-frame, while most of his younger partners use Glocks. Det. Russel, when she shows up, packs a Colt Detective Special. (I was under theimpression NYPD doesn't issue revolvers anmore)

Can you imagine a CSI Denver? Denver cops have the widest choices out there, including the good old 1911.

November 21, 2004, 10:23 PM
I read somewhere that many of the movies and TV shows that feature extensive gunplay do their filming in Vancouver BC, because of the more leniant laws there regarding fully-automatic ownership, rental, and use. It made me think of the movie (I can't remember the name) that starred Lucy Liu as a P90-toting vengeance-seeking hottie. If I remember right, there is (or was) quite a cottage industry springing up in supplying movie gun rentals.

As far as gun placement in movies, I think for it to be at all effective, it'll have to be much more blatant. I mean, my wife owns a S&W Model 686 (it used to be mine), and she'd never recognize the S&W logo, unless I pointed it out to her. I'd venture to say that most non-gun-enthusiasts that watch a movie would never go buy a gun because they saw it in a film. Only if there was specific mention of make and model, along with especially heroic use.

November 22, 2004, 10:14 AM
I think there are two types of "gun" movies. Ones where the gun is almost an individual character ("Quigley Down Under", "Aliens", "Dirty Harry") and ones where the guns are just dressing (gangsta flicks, war movies). In the former, a specific model, finish, or caliber can be identified and become popular with the gun crowd, while in the latter the guns are chosen to be period correct or just to be "flashy" by the director or props guy (otherwise why are all ganbangers armed with AKs and Uzis? They look cool and scream "bad guy" to audiences). In this case, popularity with the gun crowd is coincidental or a stroke of luck.

Tommy Lee Jones' line in "U.S. Marshalls" may not have been paid for by Glock, but I bet it sold a fair number of Glocks. I doubt it was intentional though, it was probably just to add a "tough guy" quality to TLJs character. Same with the talk of Riggs Beretta in "Lethal Weapon" and the Desert Eagles in "The Matrix". They were window dressing which just happened to get spotlighted.

I have heard that some gun companies would not allow their weapons to be used in a movie if there was a negative image. I'm assumiong this means that the weapon itself is demonized, not just in the hands of some gangbanger.

Joe Demko
November 22, 2004, 11:40 AM
I remember reading on a knife board a few years back that the owner of Spyderco was pretty upset at his product often turning up in the hands of movie badguys. Didn't seem to be much that he could do about it, though IIRC. Gun manufacturers are probably in a similar situation.
Watch a movie clear through to the end of the credits sometime, you will quite often see a "thank you" for all the various products placed in the movie. I've yet to see a gun manufacturer listed.

November 23, 2004, 02:27 AM
I know that Gil Hibben was very pleased to see some of his knives in "Stargate". And then they used them in the series too IIRC.

November 23, 2004, 07:53 PM
Guns are placed just like any other product in movies and TV shows. There is usually negotiation to "only" have the gun visibly used by the "good" guys. Example is the movie SWAT- Some of the actors were actual LAPD and LASO SWAT officers, they wore their normal tac uniforms and equipment BUT were not allowed to carry the Kimbers, they were given the SW 1911's. The bad guys also carried them, but they were not as visible (e.g. good side shot with recognizable emblem). A good friend of mine was one of the guys who started the TMPSA group in LA back in the 80's. They were always dealing with both the manufacturers and the directors to place weapons. H&K, Glock, Smith and Ruger among others are constantly dickering with the "consultants" as they are now called to get their guns placed. What is funny is watching the continuity crew trying to make sure all the right weapons get back to the right actors after scene breaks... If you watch most action movies, you can see where they missed- e.g. first part of the scene an actor is carrying an M-16, last part an 870, or no grenades to start, then 2-4 grenades at the end of the scene. A little bit of trivia, in the old TV show Airwolf the SWAT team was actually LASO deputies and there were times when they actually had to stop filming to go on calls.

Kenneth Lew
November 23, 2004, 08:37 PM
I know LAPD SWAT uses Kimbers, but I'm almost certain they were using Springfields in the movie. I remember seeing the SA emblem clearly at least a few times.

If you enjoyed reading about "Do you think there is gun-placement in movies?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!