Apatow stands by 'child murder' joke in 'This Is 40'

Director won't be taking the gag out of the film, which is set for release at the weekend

Director Judd Apatow won't be removing a joke about child murder from his forthcoming film 'This Is 40'.

The man behind such films as 'Knocked Up' and 'The 40-year-old Virgin' has said that the gag will stay in the film when it's released in the US tomorrow.

[Related story: Django Unchained premiere cancelled]

This Is 40... joke will remain in the film, out this weekend in the US (Copyright: Universal)

In the film, the line comes from Albert Brooks, who plays Larry, the father of Paul Rudd's character Pete.

While spraying his triplets with a hose in the garden, he yells: “Line up! Line up for murder! Come on! Who wants to be killed?” before one of the children yells back 'I do!' and another joins in, shouting 'Murder me!'.

“All right. The kids are murdered,” Brooks then adds after soaking them all. “That will save us some money.”

In response to keeping the line in the film, Apatow told The Wrap: “I wrote this script two years ago. That line is spoken by a sarcastic father kidding with his children.

“In light of recent events, I understand if some people might make an unfortunate association or put it in a context in which it was not intended.

Elsewhere, other productions have removed violent imagery from their marketing material, or cancelled red-carpet events in light of the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Recent premieres of both 'Django Unchained' and 'Jack Reacher' were axed after the events last week in which 20 children were among 28 killed by a lone gunman at the Connecticut school.