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Universal cancels release of 'The Hunt,' controversial film Trump appeared to criticize

  • August 11, 2019

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a film that President Donald Trump seemingly criticized earlier this week.

In a tweet Saturday, the studio shared a link to their official statement.

“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 statement read. “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.”

The film, which was set for release in September, has sparked controversy due to its subject matter in the wake of recent mass shootings. The film follows a group of wealthy elites who hunt people in rural America for sport, according to Rotten Tomatoes and The Hollywood Reporter.

In a statement provided to USA TODAY Saturday by representative Marla Farrell, the film’s star Hilary Swank commented on the cancellation. 

“I fully support the decision by Universal and the filmmakers regarding ‘The Hunt.’ It is a choice that I also personally felt was necessary,” she said. “I can’t comprehend the violence happening in our country right now. We should all focus on healing, and above all else, kindness, sensitivity and humanity.”

Earlier Saturday, before Universal had pulled the film, Swank told reporters at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland that she would not be commenting on the film. 

“No one’s seen the film. You can’t really have a conversation about it without understanding what it’s about,” she said, according to Variety. 

In tweets Friday, Trump labeled Hollywood as “racist.”

“Liberal Hollywood is Racist at the highest level, and with great Anger and Hate!” he 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 president added: “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!”

Although Trump did not name the movie he was criticizing, his tweets came in the midst of backlash toward “The Hunt.”

Contributing: Charles Trepany

More: Trump says ‘racist’ Hollywood is ‘doing a tremendous disservice to our country’

More: Netflix didn’t release mom movie ‘Otherhood’ with Felicity Huffman amid scandal — until now

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