Hunt, The: Universal Cancels Film Release after Mass Shootings

Universal Pictures has canceled the release of its upcoming thriller The Hunt, set to hit theaters September 27.

The movie is an R-rated satire, in which elites hunt “deplorables” for sport.

The studio’s Saturday announcement came a day after President Trump took aim at the film — though he didn’t name its title — and Hollywood, saying on Twitter, “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!”

“While Universal 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 spokesperson for the studio said 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.”

The studio came to the decision alongside “The Hunt” filmmakers, and that it was a tough decision for the company, but studio leadership ultimately determined that the film could wait.

Universal had put a temporary halt on marketing for the film after a series of mass shootings.

In the film’s few marketing materials that did air, stars such as Betty Gilpin and Ike Barinholtz could be seen brandishing assault rifles and pistols while taking on a group of would-be hunters.

Other cast members included Hilary Swank, Emma Roberts, Ethan Suplee and Justin Hartley.

The two-time Oscar winner Swank (“Million Dollar Baby”), who is developing a project about a Syrian refugee, told reporters at Locarno Film Fest that it’s “important to celebrate our differences” and that the president’s divisive politics haven’t changed her intent to tell meaningful stories.

“My desire to tell certain stories has always been the same, no matter who the president is,” said Swank. “The choices that I’ve made pretty much inform who I am as a person, and that’s not going to change….I definitely make stories about the underdog, and, you know, I stand up for human rights.”

Jason Blum is producing for Blumhouse Productions alongside Damon Lindelof under his White Rabbit flag, and Craig Zobel directed.