One of the oldest sayings in the book is that controversy creates cash, but that wasn’t true in the case of The Hunt, Blumhouse’s thriller that inadvertently wound up as one of the most controversial movies of 2020, which landed in theaters with a thud in March of last year to earn just $16 million at the box office, although that was still enough to recoup the modest $14 million budget.
Blumhouse are famed for churning out a succession of low cost, high reward genre films that can always be relied on to do decent business, but that didn’t happen with The Hunt. Following several mass shootings that occurred shortly after the first trailer was released, Universal pulled the film from the theatrical schedule entirely to place it in a state of limbo.
Matters weren’t helped when Home Alone 2 star and former host of The Apprentice Donald Trump decried The Hunt as being racist towards conservative opinions, and even claimed that it had been deliberately designed to cause chaos and unrest, as opposed to offering high concept thrills built out from a dozen strangers waking up in a clearing with no idea where they are or how they got there, only to discover they’re being hunted for sport by the rich.
When The Hunt did finally make it into theaters, the Coronavirus pandemic then came along and burnt the industry to a crisp, and it was shuffled onto VOD just three days after premiering on the big screen. It’s a regret that still stings for producer Jason Blum, but the good news is that it’s posting a strong showing on the HBO Max viewership charts, having recently cracked the Top 10 and reached as high as eighth position.