'Happy Death Day 2U' Release Date Moved Up One Day After Request From Parkland Victim's Parent

Happy Death Day 2U, the sequel to the surprisingly enjoyable Happy Death Day, was all set for a February 14 release date. While most of us immediately associate that date with Valentine's Day, it also has a far more tragic connotation. February 14, 2019 will mark the one-year mark of the tragic Parkland shooting, where 17 people were killed at Stoneman Douglas High School. Releasing a movie called Happy Death Day 2U on the anniversary of the shooting sparked understandable discomfort in Fred Guttenberg, one of the parents of the Parkland victims. Now, as a direct result of Guttenberg's pleas, the Happy Death Day 2U release date will be moved up a day.

While the folks involved with Happy Death Day 2U clearly didn't intend to reference the Parkland shooting with their February 14 release date, it still proved to be a bridge too far for Fred Guttenberg. Guttenberg's 14-year-old daughter Jaime Guttenberg was killed in the shooting, and since then, Fed Guttenberg has become an activist against gun violence. Guttenberg took to Twitter this week to voice his displeasure with the ill-timed release date.

While it would've been very easy for Universal to simply ignore Guttenberg's protests, or release a half-hearted statement saying they sympathized but wouldn't be changing the date, the studio instead decided to take the grieving father's words to heart, as Guttenberg himself soon confirmed.

The horror-comedy will now open a day early, on February 13. Universal has also decided to not release or market the film in Parkland. The studio issued the following statement:

When Universal Pictures became aware last week that the one-year anniversary of the tragic events in Parkland, Florida fell on the Happy Death Day 2U release date, the studio spoke with victim advocates and immediately began the process of changing the release date of the film. Following discussions with its partners in exhibition, Universal will move the North American release date to February 13th. Additionally, the studio has decided not to show the film in Parkland and the surrounding areas. Outdoor, digital and in-theatre marketing for the film will be suspended in that market. The studio understands the importance of memorializing the February 14th date as an opportunity to continue to allow the Parkland community to heal.

This is ultimately a good move on Universal's part. They lose nothing but moving the date up a day while also making an effort to understand the complex, personal emotions of those effected by the Parkland shooting.