Universal Pictures has pulled the release of upcoming thriller movie The Hunt.
The Hunt was due to be released by Universal Pictures on September 27, 2019, but after ending the marketing campaign in the wake of the mass shooting in El Paso, Universal have instead opted to cancel the release of the movie all together.
“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,” Universal 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.”
Variety also reported that a source informed them that the decision came as a mutual agreement between Universal and the filmmakers. They added that “it was a tough decision for the company, but studio leadership ultimately determined that the film could wait.”
The Hunt was slated as a satirical thriller, featuring the social elite kidnapping working class citizens and hunting them for sport. It faced a bevy of unproven criticism in recent weeks from outlets such as Fox News as the elites being left-wing or liberal, and the hunted being supporters of current U.S. President Donald Trump. Those claims were not supported by either the marketing materials for the movie, nor the previously released trailer.
The official synopsis for the movie from Universal read:
Twelve strangers wake up in a clearing. They don’t know where they are, or how they got there. They don’t know they’ve been chosen … for a very specific purpose… The Hunt.
In the shadow of a dark internet conspiracy theory, a group of elites gathers for the very first time at a remote Manor House to hunt humans for sport. But the elites’ master plan is about to be derailed because one of the hunted, Crystal (Betty Gilpin, GLOW), knows The Hunters’ game better than they do. She turns the tables on the killers, picking them off, one by one, as she makes her way toward the mysterious woman (two-time Oscar® winner Hilary Swank) at the center of it all.
Universal did not state whether they intend to release the movie at a later date, or if The Hunt was being permanently canceled.