The world can be a scary place, which we, unfortunately, continue to see. Pair this with social media which can give us a heightened sense of awareness and a platform to be heard, and almost anything can happen. Universal Pictures was set to release their upcoming film The Hunt on September 27, but chose to cancel its release in the aftermath of the tragic shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. While some viewed this as a sympathetic gesture to those lost, others thought that maybe, just maybe Universal was bullied into canceling the film.
The Hunt consists of the concept of rich individuals hunting down others for sport. Somewhat Hunger Games-esque. Of course, the film became politically charged when sources say that many felt it depicted the wealthy left-wing individuals hunting down internet conspiracy theorists. The idea was brought to light by Fox News which then upset the right-wing, which then rolled into the theory that the film was about hunting down conservatives…Really though, the concept dates back to 1924’s short story “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell.
But were they directly responsible for the movie getting pulled?
THR states that “multiple” executives at the studio had reservations when the film was bought back in May 2018. It sounds like they knew the film would be controversial from the outset, but that they didn’t initially want to cave to any sort of outrage. However, immediately after the shootings, it rendered what the studio believed “was a biting satire into a project so toxic, it wasn’t worth the headaches.”
All this was reportedly before the studio execs and filmmakers started receiving death threats through email and social media (ironic, isn’t it?), so it sounds like these things weren’t quite a factor.
If the company canceled the release to honor those lost in the tragic shootings, then I think that is a good move which could possibly be released at a different time, but, if they canceled the film because of the backlash they received on a political level, then this could set a dangerous precedent for future films, especially those of the satire genre. The Hunt clearly isn’t new to the genre with other films such as the previously mentioned Hunger Games as well as The Most Dangerous Game film adaption, The Purge, Get Out, Us, BlacKkKlansman, etc.
What are your thoughts on Universal canceling the release of The Hunt? Did they do the right thing in light of recent events, was it a “knee-jerk” reaction to criticism, or a little bit of both? Leave your thoughts in the usual spot, and thanks for reading!
What do you think of the decision from Universal? Let us know your thoughts down below!
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