‘The Hunt’ will not be released in theaters due to recent terrorist attacks

In recent years, television and movie studios have found themselves needing to refilm scenes or change release dates because the shows unintentionally mirror catastrophic events. The BBC has a good rundown of ways that shows and movies have needed to be change: In 2001, a subplot of the episode of Friends where Chandler joked about having a bomb when he and Monica were at the airport was refilmed after September 11. In 2016, Bastille Day, starring Idris Elba, and which focused on a bombing in Paris, was taken out of theaters in France the day after the terrorist attack in Nice on Bastille Day.

The latest film whose theatrical release has been cancelled due to recent events is Universal’s The Hunt:

In the wake of political uproar over the new thriller The Hunt, in which everyday people are kidnapped and hunted for sport by rich elites, Universal has announced it’s canceling the release of the film.

“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,” a Universal Pictures spokesperson said in a statement on Saturday. “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.”

Starring Betty Gilpin and Hilary Swank, The Hunt tells the story of rich elites who kidnap normal people from Republican-voting heartland states like Wyoming and Mississippi and then set them loose in the wild to be hunted by people who pay for the privilege.

[From People]

People notes that the studio had suspended the marketing campaign following last week’s terrorist attacks in Texas and Ohio, and then decided to pull the film. The magazine noted that Universal might have been influenced by tweets from Trump.

I just watched the trailer (which is below, it’s graphic) and cringed through most of it. Satire is hard to pull off well, and, obviously, it’s hard to tell from this trailer whether the film is successful in that regard. The Hill published an article that digs a bit deeper into the film’s commentary on our current climate. I have less-than-zero desire to watch people hunt other people for sport, so I would have avoided this, even though I appreciate satire. There’s ample opportunity to lampoon, satirize and otherwise turn politics on its head to make a point, and I’m sure someone could have come up with a different plot that would have been effective at speaking to the division in this country. That said, when you have one party largely supporting the cruelty of the current president, those of us who are appalled by what is happening aren’t suddenly going to change our minds and “play nicely.” I do feel bad for The Hunt’s cast and crew, though, who dedicated themselves to a film that they cared about that no one is going to see for a while, if ever.

Here’s the trailer for The Hunt:



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27 Responses to “‘The Hunt’ will not be released in theaters due to recent terrorist attacks”

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  1. LeaTheFrench says:

    Based on the trailer, it looks pretty first degree to me. Would not be the first time a studio would frame a movie as “satire ” to justify violence and cruelty on screen. This looks like someone said “let’s do the Hunger Games again with some vague veneer of politics. ” Not convinced.

  2. Lex says:

    I am one of Emma Roberts’ (rare?) fans but that wig (?) looks busted.

    • Ashley G says:

      I’m a Emma Roberts fan too! She might be an awful brat but I like her 😢 anyhow the film looks like an interesting concept but that accent from Betty takes me out. It’s atrocious!

  3. Kittycat says:

    Why make a film like this in the first place?

    The Purge is enough.

    • KL says:

      Because this one would feature “normal people from Republican-voting heartland states like Wyoming and Mississippi.”

      Basically it sounds like an answer to The Purge, and arguably The Hunger Games, and every franchise that dared dangle its cautionary toes in the idea that, when it comes to rich elites and the exploitation of the masses, certain communities are disproportionately targeted or unprotected. “Oh no,” this movie would argue, “that can happen to ANYONE. Even nice white blonde women! Won’t someone think of THEM?”

      I feel pretty ungenerous judging this movie on its premise and whatever info is listed here, but… wow, that heartland comment. I’m big mad.

      • alternative fact says:

        I’m a liberal and I definitely have a different opinion. I think it looks like an interesting film about how people of all leanings can commodify others. Even well meaning liberals. The romans were a pretty liberal society and they loved the gladiatorial games. People have been hunting each other for sport for hundreds of years. Without seeing the movie I can’t of course comment on whether it’s clever social commentary of just blood for fun but the Purge already tackled theocratic rich conservatives targeting the poor. Why not flip the script? I like speculative fiction a lot and I hope the movie gets released on VOD or something just because I really don’t think pulling it does anything though I certainly understand pushing the release back.

  4. Lucy says:

    In light of all the recent shootings, this is unbelievably tone deaf

  5. Frida_K says:

    “Rich elites who kidnap normal people from Republican-voting heartland states like Wyoming and Mississippi”


    So who are the “rich elites”? Are they THE LIBRULS? And are the “normal people” the same kind of heartland salt of the earth folks that the New York Times likes to portray when they write their disingenuous articles about “the forgotten man” who voted for the current occupant of the White House? Or are the “rich elites” the same people who ran in Jeffrey Epstein circles and who secretly laugh at and cynically exploit the “normal people” who voted MAGA and who live in Wyoming and Mississippi? Who’s being skewered here?

    Also–this looks awful apart from its coy attempt to be entertaining yet (at least in theory) unflinchingly incisive on all matters socioeconomic and cultural. Frankly, it looks like a remake of the Hunger Games for baby boomers.

    • Bettyrose says:

      Is it is playing to paranoia about liberal elites or lampooning it??

    • Harryg says:

      Yeah I was very confused about this all and yes it looks like crap.

    • tealily says:

      Yes, I’m very confused. Maybe we’re all supposed to read this how we would like to politically? I’m baffled.

    • alternative fact says:

      The Purge was all about a theocratic, conservative group of wealthy elites who were specifically targeting poor people of color. Why not flip the script? I’m a super lefty but I find other liberals taking so much offense to the premise of this movie a little overblown. It didn’t seem like it was getting a ton of buzz anyway so I think making such a big deal about pulling the movie just adds to the hype. Though I support holding off on the release date due to current events.

  6. Naan says:

    Oh I dunno. It seems like stricter gun laws and dedication to enforcing them would be a better tactic to stop violence than censoring films? But NRA $$$ blah blah freedom. Okey dokey.

    • tealily says:

      Yeah, where are the “but but FREEDOM OF SPEECH” folks now? Only matters for hate speech, I guess.

    • alternative fact says:

      Yeah I’m a liberal and I think it’s pointless to pull the film. What are we going to do, remove “The Most Dangerous Game” (the origin story for all these movies and shows) from bookshelves? Burn “The Hunger Games”? I understand why they at least postponed the release but let’s not kid ourselves and assign altruistic motives to this.
      I really like speculative fiction because of the parallels to reality. I hope they release it at a later date and let people vote with their money.

  7. Adrien says:

    Why is Emma Roberts in every B-movie ever released? I watch a new trailer on YouTube and all the suggested videos are movies or TV shows with her on it.

  8. Penguen says:

    I couldn’t get through the trailer. Just couldn’t do it.

    It’s a bummer, I like Betty Gilpin.

  9. Meeee says:

    Wasn’t there a movie, with this plot already, like in the late 80’s/early 90’s?

    • alternative fact says:

      Probably. I think the first iteration of this plot was the 1920s short story “The Most Dangerous Game”. And then of course we have the gladiatorial games of the roman empire and various fight to the death games like tlachtli from the Aztecs. Humans have been sacrificing for sport for a long time lol. In a world where people are commodities I think this looked like an interesting movie but I also hate it when controversial things are pulled from theaters.

  10. tealily says:

    More Betty Gilpin vehicles, please!

  11. phlyfiremama says:

    What a load of self-serving BS. They pulled this movie because it is too close to being TRUTHFUL to actually show. What do you think our military does to the citizens of countries unfortunate enough to have us attacking the heck out of them because we want their resources?? Our people HUNT other nation’s citizens for profit and sport, with no consequences: just cover ups and presidential pardons later.

  12. SilentStar says:

    I just don’t understand why killing people is viewed as entertainment, but that’s just me. Making it satire is even more perplexing.

  13. Meg says:

    A bitchy aside-seeing that Emma Roberts is in this movie, I don’t feel bad for her that it’s getting shelved. She’s dead behind the eyes. -Yeah I said this was bitchy

  14. TuxCat5 says:

    A cheesy, modern version of, “The Most Dangerous Game”—that short story we all had to read in 9th grade English class (i.e. Americans, GenX and earlier. Possibly Millennials, too. Heck, maybe it’s *still* part of the curriculum!). Worn-out trope.

    Can we pleeeeeeeeeeeeease move *beyond* the 19th and 20th centuries? Enough, already!