Universal Cancels Release of ‘The Hunt’ After Trump Pressure

(Bloomberg) -- Universal Pictures canceled the release of “The Hunt” after the movie’s liberals-hunting-conservatives storyline sparked backlash from critics, including President Donald Trump.

The film was accused by some of playing up the narrative of “deplorables” versus liberal “elites.” Democrat Hillary Clinton famously called Trump supporters “deplorables” during her 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump on Friday derided “Liberal Hollywood” and referred to an upcoming movie as “made in order to inflame and cause chaos.” He didn’t mention “The Hunt” by name, but commented after segments about the film had aired on Fox News.

Universal Cancels Release of ‘The Hunt’ After Trump Pressure

“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,” a Universal Pictures spokesperson said on Saturday.

Universal had already halted its marketing campaign for the film following the El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, shootings last weekend, amid a broader backlash against violent imagery in American society.

The retailer Walmart Inc. said Friday it would remove displays of violent video games and movies in its stores as part what it termed a “thoughtful and deliberate response” to recent incidents. The El Paso attack happened in a Walmart store, and another recent shooting killed two employees at a Mississippi Walmart. Walmart has no plans to stop selling guns or ammunition, though.

In years past, Warner Bros postponed the release of its Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle “Collateral Damage” film following the 9/11 terror attacks on the U.S. in 2001, and MGM held back its “Death Wish” remake following the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting.

“The Hunt” was directed by Craig Zobel and produced by Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions and Damon Lindelof. It was written by Lindelof and Nick Cuse, who collaborated on the HBO TV series “The Leftovers.”

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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