When people worry about violence in movies, they're usually talking about hyper-bloody action flicks like Kill Bill or Taken. But according to a new study in the British Medical Journal, characters are far more likely to die in a children's movie than in a film marketed to adults.
"We conclude that 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," the paper, written by Ian Colman and James Kirkbride and 11 other co-authors, says.
Comparing the top two grossing films of each year between 1937 and 2013 with the highest grossing children's movies, Colman and Kirkbride found that two thirds of the children's movies killed off an important character while only half of adult films did. Major characters in animated children's stories are two and half times more likely to die, and three times more likely to be murdered (as in Bambi or The Lion King). The parents of main characters were five times more likely to die.
Mortality is real, we tell the children. It's okay to cry.