Universal Pauses Marketing Campaign for ‘The Hunt’ After Mass Shootings

Blumhouse horror film follows billionaires who hunt working-class conservatives for sport

Universal has temporarily halted the marketing campaign for next month’s Blumhouse horror film “The Hunt” following the mass shootings last weekend in El Paso and Dayton.

“Out of sensitivity to the attention on the country’s recent shooting tragedies, Universal Pictures and the filmmakers of ‘The Hunt’ have temporarily paused its marketing campaign and are reviewing materials as we move forward,” a studio rep said in a statement sent to TheWrap.

Playing on political divides in the Trump era, “The Hunt” follows 12 conservatives who discover they have been kidnapped and brought to The Manor, a hunting ground where liberal billionaires pay top dollar to hunt them for sport. Hilary Swank plays the founder of The Manor, while Betty Gilpin plays the leader of the hunted as they fight back against their would-be killers.

A trailer for the film, which shows a gunfight in an open field and Gilpin’s character killing two of the Manor’s patrons with a shotgun, was released on July 30. An ad that was set to air on ESPN over the weekend was pulled after an attack on a Walmart in El Paso that killed 22 people.

Over the years, films have had their marketing adjusted following major tragedies. One of the most famous was a withdrawn trailer for Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man,” which featured Spider-Man slinging up a helicopter with bank robbers between the towers of the World Trade Center. The trailer was removed following the September 11 attacks.

“The Hunt” is still set for release on September 27.