Ads for ultra-violent satire The Hunt pulled in wake of US mass shootings

Promotion for movie, in which humans are hunted for sport, is stalled after El Paso and Dayton killings and studio reported to be rethinking strategy

TV ads for The Hunt, an ultraviolent political satire in which elites stalk and kill deplorables, have been pulled in the wake of the El Paso and Dayton mass shootings.

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A poster for the The Hunt. Photograph: Universal Pictures

According to the Hollywood Reporter, cable network ESPN dropped an ad for the movie that was to air last weekend while studio Universal reassesses its plans for the film, which is due for release on 27 September in the US. The same publication says a source at ESPN said that no spots for the film would appear on the network in the coming weeks.

Produced by Blumhouse, the studio behind The Purge horror-satire series, and co-written by Lost showrunner Damon Lindelof, The Hunt is being marketed as another such horror, in which a group of 12 ordinary Americans find themselves hunted for sport by members of the global elite at a remote manor house in the shadow of a dark internet conspiracy theory.

The Hollywood Reporter quotes a Universal executive saying that the studio was responding to the politically fluid situation amid a wave of protest in the US against gun violence and white supremacism and that it was discussing plans to change direction over the films promotion if people think were being exploitative rather than opinionated.

The film has not, reportedly, been without opposition inside the film industry. The Hollywood Reporter quoted one anonymous film-maker with links to Universal saying: Employees in different departments were questioning the wisdom of making such a movie in these times In light of the horrific [recent shootings], is this not the most craven, irresponsible, dangerous exploitation?

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