This week’s tragic mass shootings reportedly have Universal Pictures “re-evaluating its strategy” for “The Hunt,” a forthcoming satire film that depicts elite liberals hunting “MAGA types” for sport. A Wednesday article in The Hollywood Reporter spotlighted internal deliberations over the movie, which stars Hilary Swank and is slated for release on Sept. 27.
According to the report, ESPN has already pulled ads for the film, originally titled “Red State Vs. Blue State,” which “features guns blazing along with other ultra-violent killings as the elites pick off their prey.” The trailer does a pretty good job illustrating why Universal is grappling with the film in light of recent tragedies.
One Universal source told THR some ads have been pulled “for content and placement.” According to the outlet, “The Hunt’s” script “features the red-state characters wearing trucker hats and cowboy shirts, with one bragging about owning seven guns because it’s his constitutional right.”
Meanwhile, “The blue-state characters — some equally adept with firearms — explain that they picked their targets because they expressed anti-choice positions or used the N-word on Twitter.” (Because that’s what Hollywood believes pro-life, pro-gun, red-state people do.)
Apparently Universal has internal critics:
‘Employees in different departments were questioning the wisdom of making such a movie in these times,’ says one filmmaker with ties to Universal. ‘In light of the horrific [recent shootings], is this not the most craven, irresponsible, dangerous exploitation?’
That point is countered by a Universal executive, who says the movie ‘is meant to show what a stupid, crazy world we live in,’ adding, ‘It might even be more powerful now.’
I would typically be inclined to sympathize with the executive’s viewpoint, but the trailer makes that very difficult to do. Sure, it looks like the elites are subject to satirization, right alongside the deplorables. But I’m struggling to imagine how it’s healthy or constructive to foist a film on the American audience that depicts crudely stereotyped liberals and conservatives engaged in a literal culture war, replete with gratuitous red-on-blue violence.
Do we really need fictional violence—in the form of liberal elites literally hunting conservatives, no less—to help process “what a stupid, crazy world we live in”? We clearly don’t need more bloodshed, satirical or otherwise, to grasp that.