Trayvon Martin Shooting Forces Fox to Yank 'Neighborhood Watch' Marketing Campaign

Trayvon Martin Shooting Forces Fox to Yank 'Neighborhood Watch' Marketing Campaign

Mar 27, 2012

Although it doesn't hit theaters until July 27th, 20th Century Fox has gone ahead and pulled all marketing materials associated with the upcoming comedy Neighborhood Watch from Florida theaters in order to re-strategize the entire campaign in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting. Martin was unarmed when he was gunned down by the captain of a neighborhood watch group in Florida, and since then the case has monopolized national headlines, spreading throughout the entertainment industry, to professional sports, and beyond. The film, starring Jonah Hill, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Richard Ayoade, has more to do with an alien invasion than anything even remotely close to what happened in the Martin case, however its initial bullet-ridden teaser poster with the words "Neighborhood Watch" splashed across the front had to go. 

The teaser trailer has also been yanked due to one part where the guys are all cruising around the neighborhood as Jonah Hill's character makes a shooting gesture out the window with his hand. In a statement to THR, a Fox rep said, "The movie, which is not scheduled for release for several months, was made and these initial marketing materials were released before this incident ever came to light. The teaser materials were part of an early phase of our marketing and were never planned for long-term use. Above all else, our thoughts go out to the families touched by this terrible event."

Fox, who are hard at work on the second phase of their marketing campaign, added that they do not plan to change the film's July 27th release date. We should expect their future marketing to include more of the alien-invasion storyline, while the studio says the next poster will highlight the film's comedic aspects. Speaking recently to, Neighborhood Watch co-writer Evan Goldberg commented on that initial teaser, saying, "Well, I saw the teaser, too, and I don't want to ruin the studio's tease to the world, but I'll just say, sh*t gets crazy."

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