Universal Pictures and Amblin entertainment have cancelled the Saturday premiere of the film ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ amid controversy over a behind-the-scenes video that emerged on Wednesday, showing a dog being abused on set.
Universal has released a statement saying that while Amblin’s review into the video “is still ongoing,” they have decided it is “in the best interest of ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ to cancel this weekend’s premiere and press junket.”
“Since the emergence of the footage, Amblin has engaged with many associated with the production of the film, including safety personnel, trainers and stunt coordinators as part of their in-depth review,” the statement read. “While we are all disheartened by the appearance of an animal in distress, everyone has assured us that Hercules the German Shepherd was not harmed throughout the filmmaking. We continue to support this film, are incredibly proud of it and will release it for audiences nationwide next Friday.”
— Jarett Wieselman (@JarettSays) January 20, 2017
Soon after the video went viral on social media, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals called for a boycott of the movie in order to “send the message that dogs and other animals should be treated humanely, not as movie props.”
Prior to the premiere cancellation, the two companies had released a statement insisting that the dog in the video, a German shepherd named Hercules, had been rehearsed for the water scenes but was suddenly afraid on the day of the shooting, so the production team did not proceed.