The Hunt: film gets its release cancelled following American mass shootings

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A media campaign pressures Universal to pull the release of the The Hunt from US cinemas next month, as guns remain widely on sale.

Universal Pictures has pulled the plug on the upcoming release of The Hunt, a new Jason Blum and Damon Lindelof-produced thriller that had been heading into cinemas in the States on September 27th.

Directed by Craig Zobel, the film follows 12 strangers who wake up in a forest, to find that rich people are hunting them for sport. The studio had already put a hold on the movie’s marketing campaign in response to the horrific mass shootings that have recently taken place in the US. Now it’s pulled the film altogether.

Apparently, the likes of Fox News in America had been criticising the film, generating an outcry that would presumably deflect from the fact that if you had tighter gun controls, you wouldn’t have to blame films and videogames for said shootings. I live in the UK where it’s not de facto legal to own a gun, and where mass shootings are – thankfully – not an issue, no matter how political commentators try to skew it. The reason? We have gun controls, and thank goodness for it. My heart breaks for those who lost their life as a result of these horrific incidents. My heart breaks further that holding onto guns is proving more sacred than doing something that would actually make a difference.

In America, it seems easier to blame a film or game or television show, rather than go after the guns themselves. Remember the movie The American President? Might be worth giving that a rewatch.

A statement from Universal Pictures reads:

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.

Of course, the opposite effect to that intended will now happen, that interest in the movie will increase and more attention will be drawn to it. But I’d suggest those organising the campaign against the film, in which I have no vested interest, knew that. It just means they can hold on to their precious guns for longer.

The film will presumably see the light of day at some point, but not anytime soon, and it’s unlikely to be a cinema release.


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