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.
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: