Exclusive: Universal’s Decision to Cancel ‘The Hunt’ Release Was Made Before Trump Criticism

The decision by Universal to remove Blumhouse Prods.’ “The Hunt” from its planned September 27 release had the earmarks for a knee-jerk reaction to the controversy provoked by Fox Cable News and Donald Trump.

However, sources tell IndieWire that although the announcement came after the strategically executed uproar, the choice to cancel the date had already been made.By the morning of August 5 — just after the El Paso and Dayton massacres, and four days before the film’s official cancellation — banners for “The Hunt” were dismantled on the Universal lot in Los Angeles.

This is different than pulling TV spots; in terms of studio protocol, it is almost always a sign of a film will be dropped from release.The complications of scrapping a release date involves both internal and external niceties as well as financial issues.

Like most studios, Universal isn’t imperious about its creative partners, and needed a period for consultation.

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