Fox renames movie in wake of Trayvon Martin death

LOS ANGELES Fri May 4, 2012 9:02pm EDT

(L – R) Jonah Hill, Ben Stiller, Richard Ayoade and Vince Vaughn in a scene from ''Neighborhood Watch''. REUTERS/20th Century Fox

(L – R) Jonah Hill, Ben Stiller, Richard Ayoade and Vince Vaughn in a scene from ''Neighborhood Watch''.

Credit: Reuters/20th Century Fox

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Movie studio 20th Century Fox on Friday changed the title of upcoming summer comedy "Neighborhood Watch" starring Ben Stiller to distance the film from the racially-charged shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.

Fox said the title was changed to "The Watch," and the studio also launched a new promotional trailer for the film about suburban dads hunting beings from another world.

"As the subject matter of this alien invasion comedy bears no relation whatsoever to the recent tragic events in Florida, the studio altered the title to avoid any accidental or unintended impression that it might," the movie studio said in a statement.

Fox in March removed from theaters posters showing a shadowy figure and a teaser trailer for "Neighborhood Watch" following the national uproar over Martin's death in Florida at the hands of neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.

Zimmerman was not initially charged because of a Florida law that allows people to use deadly force if they feel their life is in danger. However, he was subsequently arrested and charged with second-degree murder and is now awaiting trial.

Along with Stiller, "The Watch" stars Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill and will be released in U.S. movie theaters on July 27.

(Reporting By Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

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