In a statement released to media yesterday evening, Universal confirmed that it has cancelled the global release of 'The Hunt'.
The movie was already garnering controversy for its satirical nature, which saw wealthy Americans hunting economically disadvantaged people for sport. Written by Damon Lindeof and Nick Cuse and directed by Craig Zobel, 'The Hunt' was similar in tone to the likes of 'The Purge'.
However, the movie's marketing blitz was postponed following the El Paso / Dayton mass shootings, and when reports of the movie's referencing of Donald Trump and his supporters made news, it snowballed from there. Fox News regularly ran reports on the movie's supposed anti-Trump leanings - even though nobody saw it. Before long, Trump began parroting what he saw on Fox News.
The statement by Universal explained that "after thoughtful consideration, the studio has decided to cancel our plans to release the film."
"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."
Needless to say, the reaction online to the movie's cancellation wasn't particularly positive for Universal.
Well we canceled THE HUNT and Walmart got rid of their video game signage so I guess that’s that for mass shootings in America pic.twitter.com/3Hsv11T5N8
— Scott Wampler™ (@ScottWamplerBMD) August 10, 2019
Like The Interview, had it just been left alone, The Hunt probably would have come out, gotten mixed reviews, done so-so box office, and been forgotten in a year.
— Wes Lawson (@alifefilmodic) August 10, 2019
The people legitimately mad about The Hunt should watch V for Vendetta. Came out just a few years after 9/11. Many critics of the era trashed it. Now it’s a classic. Art has always reflected the times and made us ask questions of ourselves.
— Chris Stuckmann (@Chris_Stuckmann) August 10, 2019
The postponing of The Hunt is absolutely disgusting. I’m sure many have already stated this but The Purge films feature people of color being hunted & killed but now that white people are hunting other white people that’s not ok because Donald Trump says so. Such Bs. #TheHunt
— Scott Menzel (@TheOtherScottM) August 10, 2019
So just so we our clear, our simple head of state misread the right wing politics of an upcoming film as left wing, which led to its release being cancelled. The takeaway here obviously is that this left wing political correctness is getting out of control https://t.co/2SLjjYNfzn
— Adam Serwer🍝 (@AdamSerwer) August 10, 2019