Following a series of mass shootings across the country – most notably, the Dayton, Ohio; Gilroy, California; and El Paso, Texas incidents – Universal Pictures has decided to pull the plug on The Hunt, which was set to release next month. These shootings, in particular, drew massive amounts of media attention and coverage as a result of their high casualty count and the rather extreme political and ideological beliefs of the perpetrators.
As a result, Universal has canceled their plans to release the film, despite the fact that production is (for all intents and purposes) complete. As Bloody Disgusting reports, the studio has issued the following statement with regards to their decision:
“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. 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.”
It’s worth noting the statement specifically mentions that “now is not the right time to release this film.” As such, it seems likely The Hunt will be dropped at a later point in time, either in theaters or on Comcast’s upcoming streaming service.
Co-written by Damon Lindelof (who’s best known for working with J.J. Abrams on Lost and the Star Trek reboot), The Hunt follows twelve strangers who mysteriously wake up in a clearing, only to find themselves being hunted by a group of rich elites. Unlike its contemporaries, this particular film plays heavily into the social divide within the U.S., with characters finding themselves on opposite ends of the political spectrum.
What’s also interesting to note is that while it wasn’t referred to by its name, just yesterday, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to write that “a movie coming out is made in order to inflame and cause chaos.” The Washington Post reported on the tweet in question and argued it was most likely a reference to The Hunt.
So between that, and the aforementioned shootings, it’s clear why the studio may be getting cold feet with the film and though it’s unclear if we’ll ever get to see it now, we can only hope that they choose to re-visit the project once things have calmed down a bit.