Fox Pulls Neighborhood Watch Marketing In Wake Of Trayvon Martin Case
20th Century Fox may have a big comedy hit on their hands with this summer's Neighborhood Watch, which brings together the comedy forces of Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade and tosses in a little alien adventure, as the four guys on the self-assigned neighborhood patrol find themselves fending off an alien invasion. It all seemed harmless and entertaining, including the teaser poster excerpted above, which nicely summarizes the men with guns vs. alien goo battle the movie will presumably follow.
But now, with the names "Trayvon Martin" and "George Zimmerman" in the headlines all over the country, and the phrase "neighborhood watch" inextricably linked to the killing of a teenage boy, Fox is cooling their heels on marketing their movie for a while. According to THR, the studio has pulled the teaser trailer and poster from theaters in Florida, where Zimmerman shot Martin while patrolling his Sanford, Florida neighborhood. The studio points out, rightly, that they put together the marketing campaign well before the Trayvon Martin story came to light, and that the teaser poster was inevitably going to be replaced closer to the film's July 27 release date. They're not yanking the advertising entirely, just hitting pause while the story plays out and they figure out the moment to market a comedy called Neighborhood Watch without bringing a terrible story to mind.
With the release date still months away, this pause seems like exactly the right move-- they won't lose much buzz, if any at all, and have plenty of time to pick back up and move forward. Obviously the Martin/Zimmerman case has nothing to do with a Hollywood studio comedy-- and thanks to Fox's smart move, it never will.
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