The social satire movie “The Hunt,” has been given a new release date months after Universal shelved the film amid uproar over the film’s subject matter.
Last August, in the wake of the horrible shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, controversy swirled around “The Hunt” when it was revealed that the movie’s plot would focus on liberal elites hunting down Trump supporters for fun. Fearing that the film would stoke the flames of political hatred and lead to more gun violence, NBC pulled several ads for “The Hunt” from TV and eventually decided to delay the film’s release. Though the plot description sounded grotesque on paper, the trailer indicated something more nuanced by actually depicting the Trump supporters as heroes.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, producer Jason Blum and screenwriter Damon Lindelof said they never intended the film to pick a side and only wanted to satirize the current American political divide.
“None of us were interested in taking sides with this movie,” said Jason Blum. “It’s probably the most judged movie that’s ever existed that everyone who judged it hadn’t seen. We weren’t going to win the conversation around that and so it was our decision, in holding hands with Universal, to take the movie off the schedule.”
Damon Lindelof added that they were ultimately frustrated that nobody fairly judged the movie for what it was.
“For us there was just a fundamental frustration that nobody was talking about the movie,” said Lindelof. “They were all talking about what their perception of the movie was — a perception that was largely formed based on all the events in the aftermath of the horrific weekend before. [But] we really don’t want to be pointing fingers, and more importantly, we don’t want to be wagging fingers at anyone for overreacting or reacting incorrectly. We just felt like the movie was being misunderstood.”
“The Hunt,” which now has a new trailer, will be released on March 13.
Similar to the controversy surrounding “Joker,” critics of “The Hunt” argued that the film could stoke potential gun violence. Blum, however, said that the audience should be smart enough to know that the film is a social satire that plays it fair.
“It was read as a movie that didn’t take sides,” said Blum. “The audience is smart enough to know that what they’re seeing is a satire and it’s preposterous.”
“We think that people who see it are going to enjoy it and this may be a way to shine a light on a very serious problem in the country, which is that we’re divided. And we think the movie may actually, ironically, bring people together,” added Lindelof.
Though the film’s depiction of gun violence rubbed some people on social media the wrong way, the most vocal critics against the film were conservatives, who believed “The Hunt” would be some “liberal fantasy.” President Trump fueled the flames to this cancel campaign when he publicly weighed in.
“Liberal Hollywood is Racist at the highest level, and with great Anger and Hate!” President Trump tweeted at the time. “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!”