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Universal Cancels ‘The Hunt’ Theatrical Release After Recent Mass Shootings
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The Hunt

Universal Pictures’ The Hunt, from director Craig Zobel, using a script written by Damon Lindelof and Nick Cuse, seemed to come out of nowhere. The trailers revealed that Blumhouse would be releasing another social satire akin to some of their previous films those in The Purge franchise. In The Hunt, a group of elite high-class rich snobs pay to participate in hunting down and killing people for sport. While the premise of it isn’t shocking per se, the film would be released in theaters in the wake of recent racially-motivated shootings. However, it seems that the premise has caused such a political uproar that it pushed Universal to cancel the release of The Hunt. More on the report below.

The Hollywood Reporter posted Universal’s statement earlier this weekend. Here’s what the studio had to say:

“While Universal Pictures had already paused the marketing campaign for The Hunt, after thoughtful consideration, the studio has decided to cancel our plans to release the film,” the studio said in Saturday’s statement. “We stand by our filmmakers and will continue to distribute films in partnership with bold and visionary creators, like those associated with this satirical social thriller, but we understand that now is not the right time to release this film.”

Now here’s the film’s official premise:

“Twelve strangers wake up in a clearing. They don’t know where they are, or how they got there. They don’t know they’ve been chosen… for a very specific purpose … The Hunt.

In the shadow of a dark internet conspiracy theory, a group of globalist elites gather for the very first time at a remote Manor House to hunt humans for sport. But the elites’ master plan is about to be derailed because one of the hunted, Crystal (Betty Gilpin, GLOW), knows The Hunters’ game better than they do. She turns the tables on the killers, picking them off, one by one, as she makes her way toward the mysterious woman (two-time Oscar® winner Hilary Swank) at the center of it all.”

The film, which stars Ike Barinholtz, Betty Gilpin, Emma Roberts, and Hilary Swank, was set to open in theaters on September 27, 2019. Universal’s decision to pull The Hunt from its release schedule became effective after U.S. President Donald Trump weighed in with a vague tweet, which was made after he reportedly watched Fox News report about the film.

Trump’s tweet:

Liberal Hollywood is Racist at the highest level, and with great Anger and Hate! They like to call themselves “Elite,” but they are not Elite. In fact, it is often the people that they so strongly oppose that are actually the Elite. The movie coming out is made in order….
….to inflame and cause chaos. They create their own violence, and then try to blame others. They are the true Racists, and are very bad for our Country!

However, it appears that Universal was already reconsidering The Hunt‘s marketing and overall strategy long before they decided to cancel the release. In the same report, THR said that “networks entered into the conversation when ESPN pulled an ad for the film that it had previously cleared.”

Regardless of how and when Universal made its decision, studios are very likely to postpone a release of a film in the wake of a real-life tragedy anyway like those that happened in early August in El Paso and Dayton. No word yet on when The Hunt will be released.

[Source: THR]

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