Universal Pictures cancels ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ premiere

Los Angeles, Jan 20 (IANS) Production banner Universal Pictures has cancelled the premiere of the film “A Dog’s Purpose” amid the controversy surrounding a video which surfaced wherein a German Shepherd was forced to perform in artificial rapids on the set of the film.

The move came after animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) called for a boycott of the film. PETA also pushed the director of the Amblin Entertainment production, Lasse Hallstrom, and producer Gavin Polone to pledge never to use animals in films again to rescue the dogs from Birds & Animals Unlimited, the training and handling facility said to be the provider of the canines, reported hollywoodreporter.com.

“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 humans and animals,” read a statement from Universal and Amblin.

“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,” the joint statement further read.

“A Dog’s Purpose” is scheduled to release on January 27.