Universal has decided to scrap the release of The Hunt — an R-rated satire in which elites hunt "deplorables" for sport — following a series of mass shootings across the country. The film had been set to hit theaters on Sept. 27.
The movie sparked an outcry on social media amid the public anger over gun violence and networks entered into the conversation when ESPN pulled an ad for the film that it had previously cleared. Subsequently, Universal pulled all spots.
"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."
The violent movie from producer Jason Blum's Blumhouse Productions follows a dozen individuals who wake up in a clearing and realize they are being stalked for sport by elite liberals.
Directed by Craig Zobel, The Hunt is written by Damon Lindelof and Nick Cuse. The movie stars Betty Gilpin (GLOW) and Hilary Swank, representing opposite sides of the political divide.
"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 said. (NBCUniversal's parent company is giant Comcast.)
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