When it comes to movies, studies should never underestimate the power of good marketing – or perhaps learning to read the room. Sometimes clever movies can easily rise or fall based on poor marketing or just being released at a time where they perhaps were not appropriate. This happened to Blumhouse’s The Hunt, which was meant to tap into the success the studio had found with its Purge films and offer a horror experience that is similarly politically charged.
Problem was, in between mass shootings and massive backlash in the media over its controversial politics, the film was never released to theatres as intended in 2019 and ended up only getting released later in 2020 through on-demand and streaming service, with little marketing as a result. Making it a move that few people actually got to see.
And in an interview with ComicBook.com, the hugely successful Jason Blum – who has made a name for himself in making big horror success stories on small budgets, has now called this the biggest disappointment of his career thus far:
The pre-release controversy of The Hunt ruined the whole movie. I mean, it ruined the release of the movie. The Hunt was going to be a big hit movie, and the controversy before the movie destroyed the release of the movie. When I get asked what’s my biggest regret running the company, it’s that no one got to see The Hunt because of that controversy. That controversy is horrible. It was bad. It was controversy about a movie no one had seen. People were making up stuff about a movie they had not seen, and I really hope it never happens again. I’m worrying about it happening before every movie. If we have controversy before a movie, it can wreck the release…But what can you do? I don’t worry too much. I can’t control it.
As someone who has actually watched The Hunt, I can confirm that it is a decent movie. While not particularly scary, it is a lot of fun, has some decent twists and even though there is a strong political message in the movie, it doesn’t take itself too seriously and actually plays on both sides of the political spectrum at times. Is it a great movie? No. But is it one that perhaps deserved better? Yes, though its marketing campaign probably didn’t help it and had it been marketed as a generic thriller with the political elements serving as a twist in the film itself, I suspect it could’ve been a success at the box office and probably even gotten a sequel.
Blumhouse studios continue to be successful regardless and while the hunt was a loss for the studio, they have an incredible pedigree of hit movies and big franchises that will keep making them money for many years to come.
Last Updated: June 29, 2021