Arkansas-based company’s guns showing up in blockbuster films, books
FORT SMITH – Walther pistols appear in this summer’s best-selling books and blockbuster films.
Representatives from Walther Arms, based in Fort Smith, said their products are attracting more interest nowadays from prop houses and movie tanks that help determine what type and brand of firearms to appear on television and movies. It is unclear how this exposure correlates with an increase in sales, but Walther representatives said that getting their guns featured in various media helps increase brand awareness among gun owners and gun novices.
In Twisted Prey by bestselling author John Sandford, Lucas Davenport swaps his trusty Colt Gold Cup in caliber 45 for a Walther PPQ M2 in caliber 40. In Deadpool 2, the main opponent uses a Walther Q5 match pistol. Various Walther pistols are being planned in John Wick 3: Parabellum, a film series starring Keanu Reeves, famous for its gun-oriented action sequences.
‘BOND JAMES BOND’
The parent company of Walther Arms, Germany-based Carl Walther GmbH, has been closely associated with James Bond for decades. In films, Ian Fleming’s super spy swapped a Beretta pistol for his signature Walther PPK in Dr. No, which came out in theaters in 1962. In films, Bond carried the PPK and other Walther pistols back and forth for the next 50 years, including the Walther PPK / S in Skyfall 2012.
Bret Vorhees, director of product development at Walther Arms, said a guns appearance in books seems to help build brand awareness among people without guns, while guns that appear in movies in particular help build brand awareness around the world. He noted that the appearances sometimes involve working with Walther, but sometimes the guns just end up in a book or movie with Walther, although it doesn’t make any sense.
Cody Osborn, Marketing Manager at Walther Arms, said prop houses that supply firearms for movies have increasingly turned to the company, especially at industry shows. He said these growing relationships and the recent appearance of Walther firearms in big movies are adding to the general interest of movie people.
“As soon as you help a prop house, the news spreads pretty quickly,” Osborn said.
Arms sales were brisk that year. The FBI reported 13.2 million national instant criminal background checks for the period 2018 through June, compared to 12.6 million in the same period in 2017. The total number of checks in 2017 was 25.23 million, the second highest number on record , followed by 2016 with 27.54 million. While these numbers do not represent the number of guns sold, they are commonly used as indicators of gun demand.
In Marvel’s Deadpool 2, which was released in May, Cable, a grim soldier from the future played by Josh Brolin, uses a Walther Q5 match, and the gun plays a prominent role in the film’s trailer. The pistol can be clearly seen in a close-up of Cable in Deadpool, played by Ryan Reynolds, blasts away while Deadpool tries to deflect the bullets with a pair of whirling katanas – and fails. Deadpool, who has the ability to heal quickly, is riddled with bullet holes and quips, “Oh, yeah, your bullets, they’re really quick.”
Joe Harris, owner of Roll Call LLC of Scranton, Pa., A weapons dealer that also operates a shooting range and training center, has praised the Walther Q5 match for years, calling it the best of the boxing striker pistol on the market.
He said when Deadpool 2 came out, demand for the pistol had increased – customers called it “the Deadpool 2 gun” – and now he’s having trouble keeping it in stock. He featured the Walther Q5 Match in a YouTube review after Deadpool 2 was released.
“If I were a gun company I would do everything in my power to get my gun into a movie,” Harris said. “The weapons become icons.”
In Twisted Prey, the 28th novel in the Prey series by John Camp under the pseudonym John Sandford, the Walther PPQ becomes the weapon of choice for Lucas Davenport, an alpha investigator with an eye for bespoke suits and fast cars. Davenport starts wearing a Walther PPQ after joining the US Marshals Service because he doesn’t like the Glocks normally given out to marshals.
“Davenport wants a gun that he likes and feels natural with, a gun that is ergonomic and works for him,” Camp said in response to questions asked by email. “When you look at a Walther PPQ and a Glock side by side, one looks like a Corolla and the other looks like a Porsche 911 Turbo. Davenport has been portrayed as someone who is a very good shot and takes pistols seriously, and that kind of person wants that usually a weapon she ‘likes’. “
Danny Michael, assistant curator of the Cody Firearms Museum in Wyoming, said that books, television, and film have had a huge impact on the tastes and needs of American gun owners over the years. He said it even had an impact on the collectors’ market, noting that the demand for pistols and rifles, which appeared in cowboy films and TV shows decades ago, is high.
“I don’t think a lot of gun owners will admit that they were influenced by pop culture, but they are,” he said.
He said that unlike automakers and other companies who pay to have their products featured in films, guns are usually chosen for more artistic and practical reasons – to evoke a certain mood or image. He said that while the appearance of a gun in a movie is usually more random than other products, it can still benefit a gun manufacturer greatly, citing examples such as the Sharps rifle worn by Tom Selleck in Quigley Down Under and the Smith & Wesson -Model 29 revolver in .44 magnum worn by Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry.
“The guns are becoming icons and that’s good for the brand, even if the company didn’t intend to,” said Michael.
Walthers Vorhees said he hoped the company’s pistols would see more and more movies and books. He said the company is ready to work closely with those who decide which firearms appear in films whenever possible.
“It gives us a seat at the table,” he said.
Sunday Monday business on July 29th, 2008