Universal cancels release of thriller, The Hunt

LOS ANGELES • Universal Pictures has cancelled next month's release of The Hunt, in the wake of recent mass shootings and tweets by United States President Donald Trump seen as alluding to the film as a movie "made in order... to inflame and cause chaos".

"While Universal Pictures had already paused the marketing campaign for The Hunt, after thoughtful consideration, the studio has decided to cancel plans to release the film," a Universal representative said on Saturday.

"We stand by our film-makers 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."

The cast is led by Betty Gilpin, Emma Roberts and Ike Barinholtz as strangers who wake up in a clearing and realise they are being hunted for sport.

The studio had already pulled back on marketing for the film following recent mass shootings in California, Ohio and Texas.

The first trailer for The Hunt debuted last month, depicting Gilpin's character leading a group of blue collar "normal folk" who fight back against captors hunting them in an elaborate game orchestrated by moneyed elites.

But outrage over the film did not reach a crescendo until last week. One pundit diverted blame over recent national tragedies from Mr Trump to violent Hollywood films.

The Hunt would have marked the latest "social thriller" released by Universal in partnership with Blumhouse, the company behind the hit Purge and Insidious horror franchises as well as Jordan Peele's Academy Award-nominated debut Get Out.

DPA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 12, 2019, with the headline 'Universal cancels release of thriller, The Hunt'. Print Edition | Subscribe