‘A Dog’s Purpose’ opening Friday despite leaked-video fallout

PETA says it is organizing protests in 25 other cities, including Washington, D.C., and Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, where the film was shot.“No amount of spin from Hollywood will change the fact that being forced to do a terrifying stunt is not a dog’s purpose,” says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “PETA is calling on kind people to boycott this film and send the message that animals should be treated humanely, not exploited and abused as movie props.”— Producer Amblin Entertainment and distributor Universal Pictures went into full damage control, complete with a “war room,” canceling a planned press day and starry premiere, but sticking to its plan to open the PG-rated film in more than 3,000 North American theaters on Friday.

Based on a bestselling book and told from a dog’s perspective, it’s a feel-good story for animal lovers of all kinds.• CONTROVERSIAL VIDEO: See the footage behind the ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ firestormWhich is why a video leaked last week of a frightened dog apparently forced into rushing water during the making of the film is so damaging to its opening box-office prospects this weekend : It alienates, even offends, its very audience. LOS ANGELES — Marketers would describe “A Dog’s Purpose” as a film with “four-quadrant” appeal, meaning it’s likely to draw moviegoers of both genders, young and old.

18 on TMZ.com and quickly went viral, fallout has been extensive, including:— People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has called for a boycott of “A Dog’s Purpose,” and is planning to protest during the film’s opening night Friday at the ArcLight Hollywood theater on Sunset Boulevard. “As far as videos that can come out for your film, this is definitely not the one you want if you’re the filmmakers, right before the movie opens.”Since the video surfaced Jan. “Sometimes a controversy can help you, but this isn’t one of those cases,” said Gitesh Pandya, editor of boxofficeguru.com.

— American Humane, the watchdog organization that certifies that “no animals were harmed” during TV and movie productions, suspended an employee and launched a third-party investigation into the incident.— “A Dog’s Purpose” star Dennis Quaid went on TV’s “Entertainment Tonight” calling the leaked video “a scam.”— Actor Josh Gad, who lends his voice to a dog in the film, issued a statement on Twitter saying he has asked the studio and production team for an explanation of what he calls “disturbing images.”