Death Threats Reportedly Factored Into Universal's Decision To Cancel 'The Hunt'

When The Hunt is finally released, whether it be into theaters or digital, it may be that the events surrounding it are more interesting than the movie. A new factor into Universal's decision to cancel the controversial thriller, which they want us to believe was always their plan, is the dangerous climate surrounding it once word got out over the premise.

New details from THR point to early test screenings of The Hunt, which was originally titled Red State vs. Blue State, and the uncomfortable reaction from audiences that gave Universal its first whiff of  concern. The decision was made to tone down the political references in the marketing strategy, especially following two mass shootings in which one of the killers expressed anti-immigrant sentiments.

However, the studio began receiving death threats once it became known what the movie was about, which is a group of strangers, described as "deplorables", hunted down by rich, elite liberals for sport. The authorities never got involved in the situation, but right-wing mouthpieces sure did, as did Donald Trump with around-the-clock commentary on TV news and social media. Universal then made the decision to scrap the release altogether, although top execs were reluctant to do so and be seen as caving in to pressure. It was the mass shootings that changed their minds.

Apparently, other studios had seen the project as a potential hot zone and refused to pick it up. Even some within Universal had reservations. However, there are reportedly many international outlets eager to acquire and release the movie, so that may be a route Universal and Blumhouse go in.