Producer Jason Blum still hopes to release The Hunt eventually. Through his Blumhouse production company, Blum has helped to foster success behind several popular films over the past few years, such as the Oscar-winning Get Out, Us, and the Oscar-winning Whiplash.
In addition to his high rate of success with the films he produces, Blum has proven that low-budget films can still offer serious competition at a time when CGI-laden blockbusters all too often rule the roost. Blum’s willingness to take chances has made him a favorite of many filmmakers, and entrenched Blumhouse Productions as one of Hollywood’s hottest production companies. Unfortunately, no success comes without a bit of sacrifice, and Blum learned this lesson firsthand this summer when Blumhouse’s The Hunt had its release date pushed back before being pulled from the production company’s release slate altogether. The film’s tale of a human hunt turned revenge thriller became a very taboo subject in the wake of two US mass shootings, and suddenly, The Hunt was embroiled in an uncomfortable bit of controversy.
For Blumhouse fans and those in particular who were looking forward to the release of The Hunt, learning that the film wouldn’t be released was a definite letdown. However, in a new interview with Vulture, Blum revealed that he hasn’t given up on The Hunt yet, and when asked if there's any chance of the film being released in the future, the Blumhouse chief said, “Definitely a chance. I hope so.” Regarding any lessons learned through the entire controversial experience surrounding The Hunt, Blum had this to say:
I learned a lot of lessons. 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.
The marketing mistakes that Blum speaks of could be related to the negative reactions that test screenings of the film were said to have garnered. The Hunt initially appeared to be framing the film’s plot, which dealt with 12 strangers awakening in a clearing, uncertain of where they were or how they got there, with American political allegiances. In the film, the twelve strangers soon learn that they are being hunted for sport, by a group of wealthy elites who refer to the group as “deplorables”, which is a term used by Hilary Clinton in the 2016 US Presidential race to describe Trump supporters. In addition to this, the film’s original title was Red State vs. Blue State – a not so subtle nod to the ongoing friction between US political factions.
It's understandable how some could feel that the timing was bad for The Hunt in the wake of mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso, but burying the film completely seems like a bit of an overreaction. The Hunt is hardly the first film to take up the concept of humans hunting humans - older films like The Running Man and Hard Target or even more recent titles like The Hunger Games have done the same thing, and really, all that's needed with regards to The Hunt is a bit of time. Blum is likely correct that his marketing techniques may not have been the best, but surely there’s a place for The Hunt in the near future.