Over the weekend, Universal made the rare move of "canceling" the release of one of its films, the Blumhouse-produced thriller The Hunt starring GLOW's Betty Gilpin as a woman on the run from a group of "elites" hunting her for sport. The film was supposed to hit theaters on September 27, but following the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio and increased scrutiny in conservative media circles, including some vague tweets from President Trump, the movie was pulled from the schedule by Universal. If you were looking forward to seeing it this fall after the trailer dropped online last month, you're out of luck.
"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 spokesperson for Universal said in a statement released 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.”
On the surface, The Hunt doesn't look that different from The Most Dangerous Game, The Hunger Games, or The Purge, which has inspired three increasingly politically confrontational sequels and a TV spin-off scheduled to start its second season in October on USA. Looking at the bare bones of the premise or even the trailer, which was already being pulled from television before the decision was made to cancel the release, The Hunt shouldn't be super controversial.
But there's political content to The Hunt, which was first reported on in The Hollywood Reporter and was later amplified by Fox News, that made the movie a more hotly debated item. Where some might think the controversy sells tickets, Universal clearly thought otherwise -- or simply decided the modestly budgeted film wasn't worth the hassle. If you're confused and don't even know what you're supposed to be mad about or if this is worth getting worked up about, we've got a breakdown for you below.