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'A Dog's Purpose' Premiere Cancelled After Disturbing Video

Image: 'A Dog's Purpose' Premiere Cancelled After Disturbing Video

The Saturday premiere of "A Dog's Purpose" was cancelled after a disturbing video surfaced, prompting outrage over the treatment of an animal on the set. (IMDb)

By    |   Friday, 20 Jan 2017 10:35 AM

“A Dog’s Purpose” had its scheduled Saturday premiere cancelled following outrage over a disturbing video that shows a German shepherd being forced into churning water on the set of the movie.

Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment decided to delay the opening and press party because it would be “in the best interest” of the film, according to a statement from Universal, Variety reported. The press release said Amblin is reviewing the edited video.

The cancellation resulted from a call to boycott “A Dog’s Purpose” by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which said “dogs and other animals should be treated humanely, not as movie props.”

Universal and Amblin originally said the dog, named Hercules, had been rehearsed for the rushing water scenes and became scared when the shooting was to occur, so the filming did not continue.

However, the latest statement from Universal reveals that “Amblin has engaged with many associated with the production of the film” during its 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 statement reads.

Universal still plans to release the film nationwide next Friday, according to the statement.

TMZ posted the video, entitled “Terrified German Shepherd Forced Into Turbulent Water,” on Wednesday. It was reportedly filmed in 2015 outside Winnipeg, Canada, and shows Hercules submerging in water while a crew member suddenly yells, “Cut it!” Other crew members then rush in to help the dog.

Lisa Lange, PETA senior vice president, says footage “shows a terrified dog who is forced into churning water on the set,” according to USA Today. “At one point, a dog who is in danger of drowning has to be rescued.”

Eight outboard motors were used to create turbulent water to represent a rushing river in the scene, TMZ reported. Universal and Amblin told TMZ they would examine the video, ensuring that “the ethical treatment of our animal actors was of the utmost importance to those involved in making this film.”

But Gavin Polone, the producer of the film and an animal rights activist,” admitted he was “horrified” by the video.

“The first thing I asked was, ‘Is the dog OK?’ He’s fine,” he told Deadline. “But if I had seen that, I would have stopped it in a minute. People have to be held responsible for this. It was someone’s job to watch out for this kind of thing.”

Actor Josh Gad, who offers the voice of the dog in the movie, called the video “disturbing,” ABC News reported. Gad had signed onto the film because he thought it was “one of the most beautiful love letters to animals I have ever seen,” he wrote on Twitter.

“I am shaken and sad to see any animal put in a situation against its will. I have reached out to the production team and studio to ask for an explanation for these disturbing images.”
 

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"A Dog's Purpose" had its scheduled Saturday premiere cancelled following outrage over a disturbing video that shows a German shepherd being forced into churning water on the set of the movie.
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Friday, 20 Jan 2017 10:35 AM
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