Universal cancels release of The Hunt following backlash in the wake of El Paso and Dayton mass shootings

Hillary Swank in The Hunt
Universal pulls The Hunt scheduled for release in September. Pic credit: Universal

Universal Pictures has pulled the release of the controversial movie The Hunt originally scheduled to hit theaters across the U.S. on September 27.

Universal confirmed on Saturday that release of the satirical thriller has been canceled in the wake of the recent El Paso and Dayton mass shootings.

The decision follows a backlash over the plot of the movie which focuses on “liberal elite” kidnapping red state “deplorables” and killing them for sport.

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The furor over the movie’s plot was further heightened by the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, in which more than 30 people were killed.

President Trump also recently joined the backlash against the movies, describing it as “racist” and warned that it could “inflame and cause chaos.”

The Hunt was originally titled Red State vs. Blue State, and based on the information that it depicts “liberal elite” killing conservative “deplorables.”

The move was widely panned as pandering to politically motivated “sick murder fantasies” of liberals.

However, a Universal executive defended the film, which stars Betty Gilpin and Hilary Swank, saying it was as a satirical thriller meant to show the “stupid, crazy world we live in.”

The Hunt follows a group of wealthy “liberal elite” who organize a hunting expedition in which the prey is a group of “deplorables” kidnapped from conservative states, such as Wyoming and Mississippi.

The “deplorables” are transported to a remote location where they are hunted by the thrill-seeking “liberal elite.” But the hunters soon find the tables turned against them when one of the “deplorables” gains the upper hand.

In a statement released early on Saturday, Universal Picture said they had “paused the marketing campaign for The Hunt” and canceled “plans to release the film” after “thoughtful consideration.”

“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,” the statement continued, “but we understand that now is not the right time to release this film.”

Based on the wording of the statement, it appears that Universal is only planning to release the film at a future date.

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