Universal Pictures has decided to move forward with the release of their controversial film “The Hunt,” after it was pulled from theaters last year following the mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.
A studio source confirmed the project’s revival to Fox News and granted access to a private screening to prep audiences for what’s to come when it’s released on March 13.
The movie drew criticism in part because of its level of violence and its politically charged theme. The dark comedy revolves around average Americans who are kidnapped from conservative America, and hunted for sport by pompous, politically correct elitists — often while being called “deplorables.”
The film’s co-writer and producer, Damon Lindelof (“Lost,” “The Leftovers”), spoke with Fox News about the film and said it was never their intention to create division but to poke fun at both sides of the aisle.
“We set out to tell a story that didn’t take sides and that meant, yes, being fair and balanced in satirically roasting all sides… to have fun without trying to force a message down anyone’s throat or wagging our fingers… to trust the audience to make up their minds for themselves.”
He added, “We understand how some believe we are in divided times, but nothing brings us together like a movie. And we hope ‘The Hunt’ can do just that.”
Another source close to the film said the movie is strictly satire and meant to stimulate spirited dialogue among moviegoers.
“‘The Hunt’ is a satirical social thriller intended to entertain and drive conversation, not enrage and divide,” the insider explained. “The studio supports storytellers and will continue to distribute films in partnership with bold creators with something to say.”
In August, President Trump voiced his displeasure with the idea of the movie to reporters outside the White House and said the film could pose a danger to the nation.
“Hollywood, I don’t call them the elites. I think the elites are the people they go after in many cases. But Hollywood is really terrible,” Trump said. “What they’re doing, with the kind of movie they’re putting out, it’s actually very dangerous for our country. What Hollywood is doing is a tremendous disservice to our country.”
The president’s remarks came just one day before Universal made the decision to shelve the movie and cancel its release. It was originally set to be released on Sept. 27.
“The Hunt” is billed as a satirical take on wealthy thrill-seekers taking a private jet to a five-star resort where they embark on a “deeply rewarding” expedition that involves hunting down and killing designated humans.
Fox News’ Brian Flood contributed to this report.