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Usually a Hollywood studio has months to market a film in hopes of igniting awareness and interest among consumers.
That’s not the case with The Hunt, the violence-themed film that was pulled abruptly from release last fall following a trio of mass shootings. Directed by Craig Zobel, the satirical thriller depicts “elites” kidnapping and then hunting “deplorables.”
On Feb. 11, Universal announced a new release date of March 13, meaning the studio has a shortened window of four weeks to sell the R-rated pic, produced by Jason Blum.
On Tuesday, early tracking suggested The Hunt will open in the $9 million to $12 million range, with industry leader NRG putting the figure at $10 million, according to those with access to the surveys. Tracking in this case is complicated by the fact that surveys are generally conducted over many weeks; in the case of The Hunt, the new trailer and release date were only announced a week ago.
From a script by Damon Lindelof, The Hunt casts Hilary Swank as the ringleader of a gang of wealthy snobs who try to wipe out a group of assorted individuals who have posted right-wing views online. Though the “elites” supply their prey with guns, the playing field is not level. But one woman, played by Betty Gilpin, turns the tables on the killers.
The other film opening over the March 13-15 weekend is Sony’s comic book adaptation Bloodshot, starring Vin Diesel. NRG shows Bloodshot launching ahead of The Hunt with a $12 million domestic debut, although Sony is being more conservative in suggesting $10 million.
Bloodshot is rated PG-13, while The Hunt carries a hard R rating.
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