The film, a purported satire about a world where humans hunt each other for sport, will no longer be released.
In a statement Sunday, Universal Pictures has announced that The Hunt, directed by Craig Zobel, co-written by Damon Lindelof, and starring Hilary Swank, Betty Gilpin, Ike Barinholtz, and Emma Roberts, will no longer be released. Here’s what a company spokesperson had to say:
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.
The movie, originally slated for a September 27 release in the U.S., is mired in controversy after receiving negative attention from conservative media and, most recently, the President of the United States.
As reported by the Washington Post, comments Trump made on Saturday about Hollywood media, in which he said that an upcoming film is intended to “inflame and cause chaos,” are most likely in reference to The Hunt. The controversy stems from the idea that the film, which its creators are calling a satire, is supposedly about “liberal elites” hunting conservative white people for sport.
It’s a difficult concern to have a conversation about, as Universal has already, in response to this controversy and heightened concerns over violent media in the wake of yet another round of mass shootings over the past week, pulled all advertising of the film from official channels.
It’s unclear if Universal has plans to release the film at a later date, or if it will be shelved entirely. This story is developing, and if more details become available, we’ll update here with the new information.