Movies & TV / Columns

Will The Hunt Ever Get a Theater Release?

August 19, 2019 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
The Hunt

Back in 1994 a movie came out called Surviving the Game and starred Ice-T, Rutger Hauer, and Gary Busey. Loosely based on the short story “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell, Ice plays a homeless man is hired as a survival guide for a group of wealthy businessmen on a hunting trip in the mountains. Little does he know that they are there to hunt humans for sport, and that he’s the next to be hunted.

It’s a pretty underrated movie and I always thought it was a plot that had plenty of legs to it. The concept has been done before and used since, with The Hunt being the latest, but thanks to a change in social standards, some are finding it disturbing.

With violence and mass shootings filling the headlines and criticism from Donald Trump, Universal pulled Blumhouse’s The Hunt from its scheduled release date.

The reasons given for the studio’s decision weren’t made apparent but now the distributor is pushing back against the pressure to bury the movie. The situation has become so intense that the filmmakers had to seek help from studio security after receiving death threats.

Let’s make that clear. The filmmakers were receiving death threats from people protesting a movie that was deemed too violent and in bad taste.

Blumhouse founder Jason Blum was asked by Vulture in an interview if The Hunt might get a theatrical release. “[There’s] definitely a chance,” he said. “I hope so.”

“If I was offered the choice to make the movie again, I would say yes. We definitely made marketing mistakes, and we made plenty of mistakes along the way. So I’ve learned a lot. It might change how I would position movies and how I would consult on the marketing of the movies. But actually the making of the movies? No.”

Interestingly, The Hollywood Reporter wrote that there were a couple of test screenings for The Hunt which received “negative reactions”. The second screening reported that “audience members were again expressing discomfort with the politics” of it, an issue Universal did not foresee.

This is me going out on a limb but would it be too bold to theorize that Blumhouse pulled the movie to elicit a reaction, draw attention, and gain support? Any press is good press and The Hunt looked destined to come and go without much of an impact.

With a budget of $18.2 million, they could release the movie now and almost guarantee themselves a nice profit.

But again, that’s just me throwing it out there.

What do you think about The Hunt situation?

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The Hunt, Steve Gustafson