A Dog's Purpose Premiere Canceled In Response To Animal Cruelty Accusations

Photo: Courtesy of Universal Pictures.
Pictured: Dennis Quaid stars in the film.
Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment are taking a step back from promoting A Dog's Purpose following accusations of animal cruelty.

What was intended as a feel-good family film has been embroiled in controversy since this week's leak of a behind-the-scenes video showing a crew member subjecting a distressed German Shepherd to a rough, motorized water pool. The disturbing video prompted stars like Josh Gad to speak out and demand an investigation into the matter.

People reports that Amblin Entertainment and Universal Pictures, which produced and distributed the film, are taking things a step further by canceling the film's premiere, which was due to be held this weekend. The studios have also nixed the press junket, in which journalists interview actors about the film.

“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,” the studios said in a statement to People.

They added that they didn't "want anything to overshadow this film that celebrates the relationship between animals and humans.” On a more strategic level, however, canceling the premiere and junket limits the media's access to those who worked on the film, who otherwise would have been confronted by pesky questions about the animal cruelty investigation.

Meanwhile, Amblin insists that it has interviewed the people who worked on the film, and feels confident that the German Shepherd shown in the video "was not harmed." As such, the film will move forward with its January 27 release date.

“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 read. "We continue to support this film, are incredibly proud of it and will release it for audiences nationwide next Friday.”
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