First of all, Happy Saturday afternoon, dear reader. I hope you’re doing well. But I have some bad news: Universal Pictures has opted to scrap their release of The Hunt for *reasons.* The official ones are detailed below thanks to a carefully crafted press release from the studio’s powers that be. I’ll give them a +1 to Courage for cheekily re-describing the movie where elites hunt humans as a “satirical social thriller” but the rest of the motivation behind this move is straight-up spineless.
In the wake of just the latest mass shooting here in America (which is not to belittle the senseless loss of lives but to state, in fact, that this will happen again and soon), Universal pushed pause on their marketing campaign for director Craig Zobel‘s contemporary take on a similar idea to that seen in The Most Dangerous Game. Said idea, which sees elite hunters hunt down hapless human prisoners for funzies, was cooked up by The Leftovers‘ Nick Cuse and Damon Lindelof, who also produces alongside Jason Blum. Actual shootings by a racially motivated assailant weren’t enough to push the studio to cancel the movie outright, but the official cancellation came rather quickly after President Trump‘s recent Tweet-storm. While his vaguely coherent thumbed-together sentences don’t call out The Hunt by name, the movie was explicitly targeted by Fox News just hours before POTUS’ latest rant. Universal’s totally coincidental cancellation followed soon after.
Here’s the studio’s full statement:
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.
Rest assured, Americans and readers from around the world. Now that The Hunt has been canceled and Wal-mart has stopped advertising violent video games (but is still selling them … and guns … maybe in a combo deal in some areas!), we can all breathe a little easier tonight.
And here was the official synopsis:
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 globalist 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.
From Jason Blum, the producer of Get Out and The Purge series, and Damon Lindelof, co-creator of the TV series The Leftovers and Lost, comes a new mysterious social thriller.