The new Ben Stiller/Vince Vaughn/Jonah Hill comedy The Watch is out tomorrow, though that’s not the title it was written, shot, and originally marketed under. Somewhere between page and premiere, it lost its original title and saw its marketing focus shift; as has been known to happen, the events of the world off-screen either changed events on-screen, or colored our response to them. After the jump, we’ve assembled ten films that unexpectedly intersected with real life, and what happened to them as a result.
When the first trailer (above) appeared for Akiva Schaffer’s comedy Neighborhood Watch, the premise seemed simple: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, and The IT Crowd’s Richard Ayoade as four members of a neighborhood watch patrol, comically ineffectual yet clearly intoxicated with their own sense of power and authority. Then neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin in Florida, and the premise didn’t seem so funny anymore (nor did its bullet hole-ridden poster, or the moment in the trailer where Hill mimes firing a shot). Fox responded by first pulling the poster and teaser from Florida theaters, then changing the title to simply The Watch. The new trailers played down the neighborhood watch angle and played up the film’s Men in Black/Attack the Block-style alien invasion premise, which was entirely absent from the first wave of marketing. According to the studio’s press release: “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 misimpression that it might.”