By Christian Holub
August 10, 2019 at 02:37 PM EDT
Blumhouse Productions

In the wake of political uproar over the new thriller The Hunt, in which everyday people are kidnapped and hunted for sport by rich elites, Universal has announced it’s canceling the release of the film.

“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,” a Universal Pictures spokesperson said in a 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.”

Starring Betty Gilpin and Hilary Swank, The Hunt tells the story of rich elites who kidnap normal people from Republican-voting heartland states like Wyoming and Mississippi and then set them loose in the wild to be hunted by people who pay for the privilege. Universal had already paused the film’s marketing campaign in the wake of the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, but now the studio has pulled the plug entirely. It might have something to do with the fact that President Donald Trump launched a Twitter tirade against The Hunt earlier this week.

“Liberal Hollywood is Racist at the highest level, and with great Anger and Hate!” Trump wrote in a two-part tweet. “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!”

Universal has since taken down its official YouTube links of the movie’s trailer, but anyone who has watched them will surely notice that the characters being hunted (such as the one played by Gilpin) are clearly the protagonists/heroes of the story, and the elites hunting them are the malicious villains. But it’s now unclear if anyone will ever get to take in the full story.

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