Universals’ decision to cancel the release of the satire-driven action-thriller The Hunt has been met with very mixed reactions. Some people praise the decision to push the film given the nation’s recent string of mass shootings while others criticize the studio for unfairly responding to the backlash by shelving a film with more even-natured.
The Hunt had a story of a group of red-state strangers kidnapped and haunted by “Liberal Elites” for sport. The Hunt was to be released earlier this month but was canceled by universal in the wake of a series of mass shootings in the US and criticism of the film by Donald Trump.
In an interview, Craig Zobel said that the thrillers’ message was misrepresented by media reports. Zobel told him he had no intention of inflaming any political party. He said, “If I believed this film could incite violence, I wouldn’t have made it. Our ambition was to poke at both sides of the aisle equally. We seek to entertain and unify, not enrage and divide. It is up to the viewers to decide what their takeaway will be.”
The market campaign for the movie was suspended by Universal after the mass shootings in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton. After this trump denounced Hollywood’s racism. He claimed that this film aimed to inflame and cause chaos. Many media channels also condemned The Hunt as “sick” and “awful”.
Zobel tried to clear his intentions and said, “I wanted to make a fun, action thriller that satirized this moment in our culture where we jump to assume we know someone’s beliefs because of which ‘team’ we think they’re on… and then start shouting at them. This rush to judgment is one of the most relevant problems of our time”.