Yesterday, Universal Pictures, the distributor of A Dog's goal, announced the cancellation of the premiere, which was supposed to be held tomorrow, due to a review of the controversial footage that has been taken on by Amblin Entertainment, the movie's production company.
Universal and Amblin relesed a statement on Thursday that read, "Because Amblin's review into the edited video released [Wednesday] is still ongoing, distributor Universal Pictures has decided it is in the best interest of A Dog's objective to cancel this weekend's premiere and press junket". TMZ reported that Amblin Entertainment and Universal Pictures said they were reviewing the footage to determine exactly what happened on set on the day the footage was taken.
"While we continue to review the circumstances shown in the edited footage, Amblin is confident that great care and concern was shown for the German Shepherd Hercules, as well as for all of the other dogs featured throughout the production of the film".
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has called for a boycott of the movie and Animal Justice, a Toronto-based animal law organization, has filed animal cruelty complaints over the treatment of the dog. Both said they didn't know all the details of the situation.
But the video, which shows the dog nearly drowning and having to be pulled from the water, is inciting anger across the country.
W. Bruce Cameron says additional footage from the shoot "paints an entirely different picture", in a statement obtained by Entertainment Weekly: "The dog was not terrified and not thrown in the water - I've seen footage of Hercules earlier that day joyfully jumping in the pool", the statement reads.
"It takes a cold heart not to find this footage disturbing, so PETA asks whether "A Dog's Purpose" was written from the heart or just to make a buck", said PETA VP Lisa Lange. "I have been a lifelong animal lover and A Dog's goal is my third film about dogs".
The movie is still scheduled to open on January 27.
Cameron said the dog, named Hercules, balked at doing the stunt because of the location. Recently, a video surfaced showing a German Shepherd on the set of the movie being forced to perform in artificial rapids.
The studio also mentioned how the production did not proceed with the filming of the scene seen in the video and that "Hercules is happy and healthy".
The one-minute video clip shows the shepherd being coaxed, then shoved into the pool. I refuse to support a film that mistreats animals, however. The animals' safety was of utmost priority.
In a statement Wednesday, American Humane Association spokesman Mark Stubis said a representative from the group, which monitors animals on the set, was there during filming.
A Dog's objective, starring Dennis Quaid, will be in theaters next week.