Universal Pictures will no longer release its new controversial film The Hunt as scheduled, following recent deadly mass shootings and criticism against Hollywood by President Donald Trump.
The R-rated satirical movie depicts wealthy American liberals hunting "deplorables"—former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's term for many of Trump's supporters—for sport. It stars Hilary Swank, GLOW's Betty Gilpin and Emma Roberts. Fox News commentators recently slammed the film, which was set to be released in September, and on Friday, Trump ranted on Twitter about "racist" "liberal Hollywood." Last week, Universal Pictures pulled ads for The Hunt following recent mass shootings in Texas, Ohio and California that left 36 people dead.
"While Universal Pictures has already paused the marketing campaign for The Hunt, after thoughtful consideration, the studio has decided to cancel our plans to release the film," the group said in a statement on Saturday. "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 the film."
"Liberal Hollywood is Racist at the highest level, and with great Anger and Hate!" Trump had tweeted. "They like to call themselves 'Elite,' but they are not Elite. In fact, it is often the people that they so strongly oppose that are actually the Elite. 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!"
A Universal Pictures source told the Hollywood Reporter that the decision to cancel the upcoming release of The Hunt "was a decision that the studio came to with The Hunt filmmaking team, but ultimately it was about making the right decision, right now. It was a tough call for the company, but studio leadership, led by Donna Langley, all agreed that this film could wait."
Deadline reported that while there are currently no official plans as to what happens to The Hunt, the film could still have a theatrical release at some point, or it could be released via Universal Pictures' parent company Comcast's upcoming streaming service.
Craig Zobel directed The Hunt, based on a script by Damon Lindelof and Nick Cuse.
(Universal Pictures and E! are part of the NBCUniversal family.)