Updated with statement by Hilary Swank: Universal will not be releasing Blumhouse’s The Hunt on September 27 as planned. Deadline hears that a collective decision was made by Universal leadership, led by Donna Langley, with The Hunt filmmaking team. For this particular film, it’s better to wait.
The news of Universal canceling The Hunt comes in the wake of the studio putting the brakes on the pic’s marketing campaign in the wake of the mass shootings in El Paso, TX, Dayton, OH and Girloy, CA.
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The studio released the following statement this morning: “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.”
No official plans as to what happens to The Hunt now. It could come back for a theatrical release at a latter date, or it could go to streaming once NBCUniversal parent Comcast launches its service.
The Hunt follows 12 red-state strangers who wake up in a clearing and realize that they’re being hunted by liberal elites. Betty Gilpin and double Oscar winner Hilary Swank play women on opposite sides of the political spectrum, conservative and liberal, who are targeting each other. Craig Zobel directed the movie, which was written by Nick Cuse and Damon Lindelof.
President Donald Trump went after Hollywood on Friday, in what was perceived by the media as an alluded slam at The Hunt, “You talk about racist — Hollywood is racist. What they’re doing, with the kind of movies they’re putting out — it’s actually very dangerous for our country.”
He added, “What Hollywood is doing is a tremendous disturbance to our country,” claimed Trump. Deadline’s Dominic Patten covered the news Friday and how the town called “Bullsh*t” on POTUS.
In the wake of Universal’s decision to pull the theatrical release of The Hunt, two-time best actress Oscar winner and the pic’s star Hilary Swank said in a statement out of the Locarno Film Festival, “I fully support the decision by Universal and the filmmakers regarding The Hunt. It is a choice that I also personally felt was necessary. I can’t comprehend the violence happening in our county right now. We should all focus on healing, and above all else, kindness, sensitivity and humanity.”
Last weekend, ESPN yanked an ad for The Hunt that it previously had approved. However, AMC aired a spot for the Blumhouse movie during its season premiere of Preacher. On Wednesday, Universal, in its initial slowdown of The Hunt, decided to pause the pic’s marketing campaign across outdoor, digital and theatrical.