A scene from Universal’s “The Hunt”
Universal Pictures has canceled the release of “The Hunt” after shooting massacres in Ohio and Texas last weekend killed 31 people and wounded dozens of others.
The film, which Universal has called a “satirical social thriller,” is about a group of globalist elites who pay large amounts of money to hunt people for sport. Their game gets turned on its head when the hunted become the hunters.
The film was due to hit theaters on Sept. 27.
“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 company said in a statement. “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 is unclear if the company will release the film at a later date, as part of its upcoming streaming service or if the film will remain shelved indefinitely.
The film had an estimated production budget of just under $20 million and was produced by Blumhouse. Blumhouse is best known for taking small budget films and turning them into huge box office successes. The studio has produced hits like “Paranormal Activity” and the Academy Award-winning “Get Out.”
Universal’s cancellation of the release date for “The Hunt” comes just days after Walmart decided to remove video game signage and displays from its stores that depicted violent gaming. While it has long been argued that violent video games and violent movies cause people to become violent, there’s no scientific evidence to back up that claim, experts say.
It is likely that both Walmart and Universal have made these decisions not as a condemnation of the products themselves, but as a way of not upsetting customers and moviegoers in the wake of these horrific acts of violence.
Studios and TV production companies have often altered their slate due to incidents of mass shootings. Episodes of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Hannibal,” “Friends,” “Castle” and “Mr. Robot,” among numerous others have had episodes pulled from air because of violent acts in the news.
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC.