The last few days have not been easy for A Dog's Purpose, which has become the subject of intense controversy after a set video was leaked showing animal cruelty. The video showed a clearly stressed German Shepherd being forced to perform in artificial rapids, and animal rights groups like PETA have since called for a boycott of the film. The producers of the film and executives at Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment have stated that the dog came to no harm, but they have still made the decision to cancel the premiere of the film altogether.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Los Angeles premiere of A Dog's Purpose has been cancelled ahead of the film's national release on January 27. This comes right after the leaked video of Hercules the German Shepherd seemingly afraid to perform in a scene that involved swimming in artificial rapids and being thrown into the water. Due to the negative attention this has garnered the film, Universal and Amblin have opted to cancel the premiere so that the film is not overshadowed by the controversy. Here's their official statement on the matter:
An official investigation into the video is still underway, but Amblin and Universal are ensuring that Hercules is alright and was never harmed. As the story currently goes, the companies promise that Hercules was not thrown into the water like it appears in the video, and that they did not shoot that scene while he was nervous. Reportedly, director Lasse Hallström called for a break and when they returned Hercules felt okay with continuing. While people questioned in the investigation have thus far said that the dog was treated humanely on set, the video is still troubling to watch.
PETA has thus far called for a boycott of the film and recently demanded that all films involving animals instead use CGI. That's neither realistic or cost effective, but perhaps for scenes involving such action, CGI may be the better option. Gavin Polone, a producer on the film and animal rights activist himself, has said that the real issue lies with the American Humane Association, the non-profit monitoring group in-charge of overseeing animal treatment on productions, which has its own history of scandal and ineffectiveness.
The investigation is still underway and CinemaBlend will be sure to keep you updated with new information as it becomes available. A Dog's Purpose will still hit theaters next week on January 27.
Matt has lived in New Jersey his entire life, but commutes every day to New York City. He graduated from Rowan University and loves Marvel, Nintendo, and going on long hikes and then greatly wishing he was back indoors. Matt has been covering the entertainment industry for over two years and will fight to his dying breath that Hulk and Black Widow make a good couple.
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