Psssst. Fox's new movie, Neighborhood Watch is actually about aliens--and the only reason we know that is because the studio is making sure that audiences know the movie has nothing to do with the Trayvon Martin case. The New York Times' Michael Cieply reports on the marketing headaches that Fox's executives are dealing with in promoting the Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and Jonah Hill vehicle, Neighborhood Watch, and touches upon the overwhelming paranoia that drives studio decisions. Apparently, the studio's first teaser trailer kinda-sorta touched upon vigilantism by, as Cieply describes, portraying "its stars as a band of dark-clad heavies cruising their suburban turf to a hip-hop theme. Mr. Hill points his fingers as if firing a gun." (The teaser trailer can be found here.)
Nevertheless, the studio is already considering damage control to distance the movie from any unfortunate Martin-Zimmerman associations. One part, Cieply notes, is that they're trying to make their stars seem more harmless, because people might expect some serious roughness from Vaughn, Hill, and Stiller in a Toyota. The other part involves spoiling the movie's main point: a space alien invasion. "Our film is a broad alien invasion comedy and bears absolutely no relation to the tragic events in Florida," a Fox executive told The Times. That reveal (which should probably have come accompanied with a "SPOILER ALERT") "might have occurred late, if at all, in a normal marketing campaign," according to someone with access to Fox's studio plans. Well, now you know.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.