Studio cancels The Hunt movie release after criticism

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LOS ANGELES — Universal Pictures on Saturday canceled the release of The Hunt, a satirical thriller about a group of Americans who are captured to be hunted and killed for sport, following apparent criticism by President Donald Trump and a recent series of mass shootings.

The Comcast Corp. division had held back on marketing the film, slated for release on Sept. 27, after the shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, last week.

It gave no reason for the cancellation. A Universal Pictures representative did not return an e-mail seeking comment.

“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,” Universal said in a statement.

Trump, taking to Twitter on Friday, criticized “liberal Hollywood” and an unnamed film with a pending release.

“The movie coming out is made in order to inflame and cause chaos,” Trump tweeted.

Trailers released online for the film depicted a group of wealthy villains orchestrating the open-field hunting of several Americans held against their will.

The film came from Blumhouse Productions, which has produced a number of popular horror films such as The Purge and Get Out.

A Blumhouse representative did not immediately respond to calls on Saturday. — Reuters