Amblin Entertainment and Universal Pictures stated they did not "want anything to overshadow this film that celebrates the relationship between animals and humans"
The weekend premiere for A Dog’s Purpose has been canceled following the release of a controversial video depicting an animal trainer forcing one of the film’s animals into turbulent waters.
In a statement obtained by PEOPLE, Amblin Entertainment and Universal Pictures stated they did not “want anything to overshadow this film that celebrates the relationship between animals and humans.”
“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 statement reads.
Amblin has interviewed those involved with the film, including safety personnel, trainers and stunt coordinators, according to the statement.
“While we are all disheartened by the appearance of an animal in distress,” it continues, “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.”
In the video obtained by TMZ, a German Shepherd, which was one of at least five dogs used in production, is seen clawing at a pool’s edge and trying to run away as a trainer attempts to force the dog into the rushing water. The site reports that the scene was shot for the movie in Winnipeg, Canada, in November 2015.
Based on the book by W. Bruce Cameron, A Dog’s Purpose tells the soulful story of one dog’s journey to find the meaning of his own life through the lives of the humans he touches along the way.
The film is slated for a Jan. 27 release