Late yesterday, commenter Larry emailed me saying he’d just seen the trailer for Neighborhood Watch play before a screening he was at, writing “Maybe it’s me, but I think they’re well f*cked if they don’t redo the marketing in light of Trayvon Martin. This thing is a hoodie and Skittles away from being a hate crime.” Watching Jonah Hill shoot an imaginary pistol at a terrified black mailman, it was hard not to agree. It turns out Fox may have been getting some of the same emails, because not 10 minutes later, word hit that they’d pulled the promo from theaters in Florida.
The studio tells The Hollywood Reporter it has done so out of deference to the growing controversy. There are no plans to change the film’s July 27 release date, however.
“We are very sensitive to the Trayvon Martin case, but our film is a broad alien-invasion comedy and bears absolutely no relation to the tragic events in Florida,” a Fox spokesperson tells THR. “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.”
The Neighborhood Watch teaser poster for features the silhouette of an alien on a neighborhood watch street sign that’s riddled with bullet holes, in reference to the movie’s storyline about a group of men who try to stop an alien invasion. Directed by Akiva Schaffer, Neighborhood Watch opens July 27 and stars Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade. [THR]
To me it doesn’t seem similar enough to warrant action, though I’m sure newly-skinny Jonah Hill probably would kill for some Skittles these days (“HEEEY, try the waiters, tip your veal, whackety schmackety too soon.”). Anyway, it’s funny that it’s a Ben Stiller movie (though directed by Akiva Shaffer), considering the Stiller-directed Zoolander opened just two weeks after 9/11, which many people blame for its poor box office performance (despite being inarguably awesome). In some places, the announcement that the towers were falling even interrupted Zoolander commercials. And no one even saw his 2011 film, Nuclear Tsunami Party. The man’s cursed. The Uproxx editorial staff will be wearing Jew fro wigs (or going natural in my case) all week to show our support.