Universal Pictures says it will cancel release of 'The Hunt' after backlash

Universal Pictures says it is canceling the release of The Hunt following intense backlash from conservatives, and President Donald Trump, over the supposed politically-charged violence in the feature film.

The R-rated movie apparently follows a group of elites hunting other humans for sport and was set to hit theaters on September 27, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The Saturday announcement came a week after three deadly mass shootings in Gilroy, California, El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, a day after President Trump lambasted Hollywood in an allusion to the film.

"Liberal Hollywood is Racist at the highest level, and with great Anger and Hate! 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!" the president tweeted.

Fox Nation’s @toddstarnes SLAMS the new movie #TheHunt – which depicts Elites HUNTING ‘deplorables’ for sport: “This movie is right out of the DNC playbook when it comes to attacking #Trump supporters.” pic.twitter.com/zw5PZ4T4iS

— Trish Regan (@trish_regan) August 9, 2019

Other social media users seemed to echo President Trump's sentiments, highlighting the increasingly heated debate on gun culture in America and the most recent mass shootings.

"Interesting how everyone in Hollywood is screaming gun violence yet at the same time releasing a film called 'The Hunt' where people are hunting deplorables and killing them. Hollywood when are you going to take responsibility for your push of violence into the minds of youth ?" one user wrote.

Youtube user Chris Stuckmann seemingly disagreed with those who have taken issue with the storyline of the film.

"The people legitimately mad about The Hunt should watch V for Vendetta. Came out just a few years after 9/11," tweeted Stuckmann. "Many critics of the era trashed it. Now it's a classic. Art has always reflected the times and made us ask questions of ourselves."

Directed by Craig Zobel, The Hunt is written by Damon Lindelof and Nick Cuse. The movie stars Betty Gilpin and Hilary Swank. Their characters reportedly represent opposite sides of the political divide.

"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 studio said in its statement on Saturday. "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."

According to THR, Universal Pictures (owned by the larger parent company Comcast) officially suspended its marketing campaign one day after the publication reported last week that the studio was reevaluating its marketing and overall strategy for the film.

Florida Gun Shot
File photo: Guns stand for sale at a gun show on November 24, 2018 in Naples, Florida. The Republican Party of Florida are planning on holding two voter registration drives at a gun show in South Florida this weekend, just one week after the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. Spencer Platt/Getty