Universal has canceled the weekend premiere and press junket for its movie “A Dog’s Purpose,” Deadline reports, following outrage over a video that appears to show a dog being abused during shooting.
In the video, released by TMZ, a German Shepard that appears fearful is forced into water for a shot.
PETA called for a boycott of “A Dog’s Purpose,” and numerous people involved with the movie spoke out following release of the video. Gavin Polone, a producer, said he was “horrified” by the footage, while actor Josh Gad, who voices the main dog character, said he was “shaken and sad.”
The film’s production company Amblin Entertainment and distributor Universal released the following statement:
“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.
“We continue to support this film, are incredibly proud of it and will release it for audiences nationwide next Friday.”
While press around the movie has now been rolled back, “A Dog’s Purpose” is still set to come out in theatres January 27.
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