While Universal Pictures has scrapped all plans to release the “controversial” thriller The Hunt, there’s still a chance the movie will see the light of day. The film originated with a script by The Leftovers alums Damon Lindelof and Nick Cuse that was inspired by our current political climate. The film was made on the down low, with details kept to the bare minimum as Craig Zobel (Compliance) stepped into the director’s chair and the cast was filled out by the likes of Betty Gilpin, Ike Barinholtz, and Hilary Swank.
Trouble started brewing when the marketing campaign kicked off, with folks perceiving the film as a the story of liberal elites who hunt “deplorables” for sport. This false idea of the film’s premise was parroted on Fox News, which then spurred President Trump to tweet vaguely about the film in a negative manner. Following the tragic, deadly shootings in Ohio and Texas, Universal hit pause on its marketing plans as they felt depictions of Americans shooting and killing other Americans was in poor taste. Shortly thereafter, Universal announced its intention to cancel the release of The Hunt altogether, and set about scrubbing any and all mentions of the film from the interwebs.
Through all of this, we haven’t heard from the creatives involved in actually making The Hunt, but now producer Jason Blum has spoken up. The Hunt is a Blumhouse production, and hailing from the same studio that made Get Out and the Purge movies, its political leanings and real-world parallels aren’t at all out of step with what we’ve come to expect from the studio.
Speaking with Vulture, Blum said there’s “definitely a chance” that The Hunt will be released in the future, adding that he “hopes so.” It’s unlikely Universal would be the distributor, and someone else would have to step in and take on the act of actually releasing the movie, but it’s nice to know that Blum is all for it.
While he didn’t get into the details of the film’s cancellation, Blum asserts he doesn’t regret making the movie, admitting mistakes in the film’s marketing and introduction to the world at large:
“I learned a lot of lessons. Wouldn’t alter my … If I was offered the choice to make the movie again, I would say yes. We definitely made marketing mistakes, and we made plenty of mistakes along the way. So I’ve learned a lot. It might change how I would position movies and how I would consult on the marketing of the movies. But actually the making of the movies? No.”
Business Insider got their hands on a couple drafts of the script for The Hunt, and while they thankfully didn’t spoil the film’s “twist,” they do note that the film hinges on the fact that you go into it thinking that it’s about liberals hunting conservatives, but in fact it’s actually about something far more shocking.
In today’s politically charged times it’s not entirely surprising that Universal kowtowed to perceived pressure, but it’s also dismaying that, in addition to other factors, the fact that anger from people who hadn’t even seen the movie was enough to get it scrapped.
But it’s heartening to know that Blum and the film’s producers are still intent on letting audiences judge the film for themselves, so perhaps The Hunt will be released after all. Netflix? Amazon? You up?