Less than a week after last weekend’s two mass shootings, The Hunt — a satirical thriller concerning wealthy liberal elites hunting MAGA types for sport — has been pulled from its September release date, with no plans for an alternative, reports Deadline.
The decision comes days after the marketing campaign was put on hold, with certain channels, including ESPN, pulling commercials from broadcast. At the time the move involved the fact that it featured people hunting people with guns, at a time when people were reeling from the massacres in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, which left at least 31 dead.
However, the film took on a different level of notoriety on Friday, when Donald Trump targeted the film in a series of angry tweets, in which he claimed Hollywood was racist, in a clear attempt to turn the tables on the many claiming he’s a white supremacist, or a white supremacist-enabler. (The president did not offer any clear or coherent examples of its alleged racism.)
“The movie coming out is made in order… to inflame and cause chaos. They create their own violence, and then try to blame others. They are the true Racists, and are very bad for our Country!” Trump wrote. Of course, he didn’t name the movie, but it didn’t take long for conservative media to suss out which film he meant.
The Hunt stars Betty Gilpin, two-time Oscar-winner Hilary Swank, Emma Roberts, and Ike Barinholtz, and was made by Craig Zobel, the director of indies such as Compliance and Z for Zachariah. The cast plays both sides of the divide, suggesting that it’s not a Death Wish-style fantasy for liberals, many of whom are currently calling for stricter gun laws. It was made by Blumhouse, the genre-oriented production house responsible for the Paranormal Activity saga, the Purge series, last year’s Halloween, and Get Out, among many others.
In a statement, Universal Pictures — who distributes Blumhouse movies — made it clear they were taking a stand but not severing ties with its parent company.
“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,” the statement read. “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.”
It’s not clear what will happen to The Hunt now — if it will be picked up by another distributor or wind up on VOD or vanished entirely à la Louis C.K.’s I Love You, Daddy.