'A Dog's Purpose' Premieres Cancelled over Animal Abuse Controversy
Published Jan 20, 2017Following concerns over the treatment of animals on set, the Hollywood premiere of A Dog's Purpose has been axed.
The film was originally intended for wide release on January 27, with the official Hollywood premiere scheduled to take place this weekend. Now, production company Amblin Entertainment has cancelled all Los Angeles promotional events related to the movie.
A joint statement from Amblin Entertainment and Universal about the cancellation reads [via The Hollywood Reporter]:
Because Amblin's review into the edited video released yesterday is still ongoing, distributor Universal Pictures has decided it is in the best interest of A Dog's Purpose to cancel this weekend's premiere and press junket. Amblin and Universal do not want anything to overshadow this film that celebrates the relationship between animals and humans.
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. 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.
A number of Canadian screenings have also been cancelled. Calgary's Vets to Go announced that they would no longer be hosting a special screening due to the "shocking turn of events," as did Vancouver's Thank Dog I Am Out. Others, like Saskatoon's New Hope Dog Rescue have addressed the on-set footage, but are opting to move ahead with planned screening events.
Many animal rights organizations like PETA and regional humane societies are calling on consumers to boycott the film.
The initial controversy arose after TMZ released video footage of a German shepherd named Hercules becoming visibly distressed as he was forced into rushing water on the set of the film.
A Dog's Purpose was filmed in Winnipeg, and the Chief Veterinary Office of Canada has confirmed that it is investigating the on-set incident after receiving a formal complaint.