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The Hunt: There's 'Definitely A Chance' It Could Still Be Released

The Hunt might be off for now, but it might not remain so forever.

The picture, which found a new home on the shelf mere weeks before its release date after a weekend in which back-to-back mass shootings took place, might still see the light of day if producer Jason Blum and director Craig Zobel have anything to say about it. 

In case you're not up to speed, The Hunt takes place in a world in which the moneyed elite hold a once-yearly event that involves the hunting of poor and disadvantaged people, rounded up from all corners of the United States, for sport. It's a concept that has been visited regularly in popular culture, most notably in the 1924 short story "The Most Dangerous Game" and its many official and unofficial film adaptations — but in 2019, it's one that has struck a raw nerve with a public at its wits' end with a seemingly endless parade of mass shootings. 

The weekend before the project's cancellation was a particularly brutal one, with one gunman in Dayton, Ohio murdering his brother and eight others, and another in El Paso, Texas taking 22 lives at an area Wal-Mart. These events alone may have set a public desperately tired of gun violence and fed up with partisan bickering over the issue against the film, but its chances of seeing the light of day were further damaged by a tweet from President Trump, who inexplicably labeled it "racist" and claimed that it was "made in order to inflame and cause chaos."

The flick was pulled in short order, but recently, Blum — whose production house Blumhouse Pictures has become one of Tinseltown's most reliably profitable — expressed his hope that audiences would one day get to see The Hunt, and lamented what he felt were mistakes made in marketing the picture.

Speaking with Vulture, Blum was asked if the brouhaha surrounding The Hunt would cause him to change his approach to potentially controversial projects in the future. "I learned a lot of lessons," the producer responded. "[I] wouldn't alter my... 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."

Asked if there was any chance of The Hunt getting a release at some point in the future, Blum said, "Definitely a chance. I hope so."

Zobel has also recently opened up about the kerfuffle, saying that The Hunt — which he considers to be a pointed satire that takes broad aim at both sides of the political spectrum — has been misrepresented in the media, particularly by conservative outlets such as Fox News (whose commentators were quick to label the film as "sick" and "awful"). 

In an email exchange with Variety, Zobel was blunt about his movie's potential — or, rather, the lack thereof — to stoke the flames of conflict. "If I believed this film could incite violence, I wouldn't have made it," Zobel wrote. "Our ambition was to poke at both sides of the aisle equally. We seek to entertain and unify, not enrage and divide. It is up to the viewers to decide what their takeaway will be."

Zobel went on to lament that not only was the film's message being obscured in all of the controversy, but that this message happens to be a highly important one — one which deserved an airing in the current political climate. "I wanted to make a fun, action thriller that satirized this moment in our culture — where we jump to assume we know someone's beliefs because of which 'team' we think they're on... and then start shouting at them," the director wrote. "This rush to judgment is one of the most relevant problems of our time."

All political considerations aside, The Hunt frankly looks awesome. The flick stars Betty GIlpin (GLOW) in the lead role, and also boasts a strong supporting cast that includes Emma Roberts (American Horror Story), Glenn Howerton (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Ike Barinholtz (Suicide Squad), Macon Blair (Hold the Dark), and two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank (I Am Mother). It was penned by Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof and Nick Cuse, who are currently working together on HBO's Watchmen series.

It goes without saying that Blumhouse will not be terribly keen to simply throw the movie's production and advertising budgets to the winds, so it seems likely that The Hunt will get a release of some sort eventually, even if it ends up going directly to streaming or VOD. In our humble opinion, Zobel is correct — audiences deserve the chance to make up their minds about The Hunt for themselves, and it would be a shame if the film were relegated to that dusty vault reserved for completed movies that we never got to see.

Also, it should be noted that we could all use a little more Betty Gilpin in our lives. That's not our opinion; she's amazing, and that, dear reader, is a fact.