Universal has canceled the release of the Hunt, a film in which a group of “elites” kidnap, track, and murder “deplorables” for sport, citing the wake of deadly shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, as well as criticism from President Trump and conservative groups.
“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,” a Universal spokesperson told IGN in a 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.”
President Trump, who recently also laid blame for the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio on mental illness and video games, tweeted about the film on Friday.
“Liberal Hollywood is Racist at the highest level, and with great Anger and Hate!” the President tweeted. “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!”
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….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 9, 2019
Prior to President Trump’s tweets, ESPN had pulled a TV spot for the Hunt that previously ran, spurring Universal to pull all subsequent ads, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The R-rated satire comes from Blumhouse Productions, known for producing low-budget horror films like the Paranormal Activity series, the Purge series, Happy Death Day, 2018’s Halloween, and dozens more.
The Hunt tells the story of a group of lower class people who are kidnapped by a group of societal elites, released into an undisclosed region, and then violently hunted for sport. As the elites ride in personal jets, eat caviar, and pontificate about how they “pay for everything,” the lower class citizens struggle to find a way to break free and fight back. The film’s cast also appears to find themselves in some sort of camp operated by a “United Relief Network.”
The Hunt stars GLOW’s Betty Gilpin and Hilary Swank.
“This was a decision that the studio came to with The Hunt filmmaking team, but ultimately it was about making the right decision, right now. It was a tough call for the company, but studio leadership, led by Donna Langley, all agreed that this film could wait,” a studio source told the Hollywood Reporter.
The Texas and Ohio shootings, which left more than 30 people dead, reignited the ongoing debate on gun violence in America. IGN has created a hub page where people can donate to organizations that support victims of violence and their families.
Joseph Knoop is a writer/producer for IGN.SOURCE: IGN.com