‘A Dog’s Purpose’ premiere cancelled in wake of animal cruelty allegations

PETA has called on cinema-goers to boycott the upcoming movie.

The premiere of A Dog’s Purpose has been cancelled after the film’s makers were accused of animal cruelty.

A disturbing video of a clearly distressed German Shepherd dog being forced to perform in artificial rapids on the film’s set has emerged this week, prompting animal rights groups PETA to call for a boycott.

The film’s premiere had been due to take place in Los Angeles this weekend. However, Amblin Entertainment, the production company behind the film, have now said in a statement: “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 humans and animals.”

Amblin added: “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.”

The film’s director Lasse Hallstrom has responded to the controversy on Twitter, insisting he was unaware of any alleged dog abuse during shooting.

A Dog’s Purpose, whose cast includes Dennis Quaid and Josh Gad, is still set for release in the US next Friday (January 27). It’s due to hit UK cinemas in April.