The premiere of A Dog's Purpose (the movie version of the bestselling book) has been canceled, after a video clip of a clearly very stressed out dog being forced to perform a dangerous stunt for the movie was leaked online. The movie's distributor, Universal Pictures, has also put the press junket publicizing the movie on hold, while the production company, Amblin Entertainment, investigates the events behind the footage.
In a statement to Us Weekly, Amblin Entertainment 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 and press junket. Amblin and Universal do not want anything to overshadow this film that celebrates the relationship between animals and humans."
The video clip was leaked online on Wednesday and by Thursday, the movie's star voice, actor Josh Gad, and its director, Lasse Hallström, had both spoken out against the treatment of the dog. It also came out that the production team had lied about making the dog perform the stunt at all, saying that after the dog showed its initial hesitation, they canceled the shoot.
Amblin's statement continued,
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.
Us Weekly also spoke to The American Humane Association, who said that the the matter is being investigated by "an independent third party" and that the AHA representative who was on set that day has been suspended.