Movie bosses at Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment have pulled the plug on the premiere of new family film A Dog’s Purpose over fears of an animal rights protest on the red carpet.
PETA activists have called for a boycott of the film after a video featuring footage of a German Shepherd being forced to perform in artificial rapids surfaced earlier this week, and now executives behind the movie fear this weekend’s launch will be marred by angry activists.
PETA officials have also asked director Lasse Hallstrom and producer Gavin Polone to vow never to use animals in films again.
Canceling the premiere on Thursday evening, a spokesman for Universal and Amblin said, “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.
“Amblin and Universal do not want anything to overshadow this film that celebrates the relationship between humans and animals.”
A statement reads: “Since the emergence of the footage, Amblin has engaged with many associated with the production of the film, including safety personnel, trainers and stunt co-ordinators 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.”
Hallstrom was outraged by the video obtained by TMZ and took to Twitter to vent, writing: “I am very disturbed by the video released today from the set of my film A dog’s purpose… I did not witness these actions. We were all committed to providing a loving and safe environment for all the animals in the film.”
He also assured fans a full investigation into the video would be conducted.
The feel-good movie, which stars Dennis Quaid and Britt Robertson, is still scheduled to open in U.S. cinemas later this month.