Ever since the Trayvon Martin story became national news, movie executives at 20th Century Fox have been concerned with the potential reaction to a new comedy from Ben Stiller that is slated to open this summer. It's called "Neighborhood Watch," and now those behind the movie are scrambling to scrub any images that could conjure up memories of the Martin case.
That raises the obvious question: How close is the movie to actual events in the Trayvon Marting shooting? Besides the title, "Neighborhood Watch,"* the storyline in the script couldn't be any farther from the controversial case. As posted on IMDB.com:
Suburban dads form a neighborhood watch group to get time away from their families, only to discover a plot to destroy Earth.
According the film's publicity, the comedy is essentially about four white guys in black leather jackets patrolling their suburban neighborhood. And it involves aliens.
“Our film is a broad alien invasion comedy and bears absolutely no relation to the tragic events in Florida,” the movie's execs said in a statement after pulling the film's trailer, according to the New York Times.
Despite the outlandish plot starring actors known for their comedic talents, which has nothing to do with the tragic death of Trayvon Martin, it still might end up being pulled, delayed or significantly changed. The marketing for the movie is the first to be altered. For example, the poster (seen above) with its bullet-riddled "Neighborhood Watch" sign is being taken out of movie theaters, and the Times says "Fox is now featuring photographs of the four stars in a frontal shot that seems deliberately calculated to invoke the harmless lead characters in “Ghostbusters.”
Here is the trailer that you won't be seeing in theaters anytime soon:
This kind of sensitivity from a movie studio is not new. The Times, which is reporting on the movie's "bad timing," reminds audiences that this isn't the first time something like this has happened when storylines were delayed for being a little too close to current events: 2001's "Collateral Damage" and 2002's "Phone Booth" have a similar history.
What do you think? Is 20th Century Fox overreacting or are they just being sensitive? Feel free to weigh in below.
*George Zimmerman, who shot Martin, was a member of the local neighborhood watch.