A Dog's Purpose

Amblin Entertainment/Universal Pictures

Amid controversy, Amblin Entertainment and Universal Pictures have canceled the premiere and press junket for A Dog's Purpose. The move comes after TMZ published a video showing alleged animal abuse when a particular scene was shot in Winnipeg, Canada, over a year ago.

Universal Pictures confirmed the cancellations in a statement to E! News Thursday. "Because Amblin's review into the edited video released yesterday is still ongoing, distributor Universal Pictures has decided it is in the best interest of A Dog's Purpose to cancel this weekend's premiere and press junket," the statement began. "Amblin and Universal do not want anything to overshadow this film that celebrates the relationship between animals and humans."

"Since the emergence of the footage, Amblin has engaged with many associated with the production of the film, including safety personnel, trainers and stunt coordinators as part of their in-depth review," the producer and distributor's statement continued. "While we are all disheartened by the appearance of an animal in distress, everyone has assured us that Hercules the German Shepherd was not harmed throughout the filmmaking. We continue to support this film, are incredibly proud of it and will release it for audiences nationwide next Friday."

After the "disturbing" video went viral, director Lasse Hallström, actors KJ Apa and Josh Gad, and producer Gavin Polone spoke out about feeling "shaken and sad" over what transpired. While none of them witnessed any abuse during the making of the film (based on W. Bruce Cameron's bestselling novel of the same), Hallström tweeted that "a thorough investigation into this situation is underway," adding "that any wrongdoing will be reported and punished."

A Dog's Purpose

Amblin Entertainment/Universal Pictures

The movie, starring Dennis Quaid, will open in theaters nationwide on Jan. 27 as scheduled.

In a statement on Wednesday, Amblin Entertainment and Universal Pictures assured fans that Hercules was "happy and healthy" 13 months after the incident. "There were several days of rehearsal of the water scenes to ensure Hercules was comfortable with all of the stunts," the statement continued. "On the day of the shoot, Hercules did not want to perform the stunt portrayed on the tape, so the Amblin production team did not proceed with filming that shot."

Hallström said Wednesday that he didn't see what happened to Hercules before cameras rolled. As he told a Twitter user, "I am appalled too! I DIDN'T KNOW THIS HAD HAPPENED ON MY SET UNTIL I SAW THE TAPE! I DIRECTED VIA MONITORS THAT DIDNT SEE THIS!"

Mark Stubis, a spokesman for the American Humane Association, which monitors animals on movie sets, said in a statement Wednesday that a representative was present during filming. The employee was later placed on administrative leave, and the organization was "bringing in an independent third party to conduct an investigation." In a statement, he added, "When the dog showed signs of resistance to jumping in the water, the scene should have been stopped."

(E! and Universal Pictures are both members of the NBCUniversal family.)

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