The Movie You're Watching Was Co-Written By Ad Men

In an age of skyrocketing budgets, movie studios are looking for any edge they can to make sure they cover their costs. According to the New York Times, those fears have led to partnerships with advertisers that develop at the concept stage, and advertisers have a hand in forming the plot of the film.

From the story:

In the past, studio executives made deals to include products in films. Now, with the help of people like Mr. Yospe, writers and producers themselves are cutting the deals often before the movie is cast or the script is fully shaped, like “The 28th Amendment,” which Warner Brothers has agreed to distribute.

Now, having Campbell’s Soup or Chrysler associated with your project can be nearly as important to your pitch as signing Tom Cruise.

“The cost of movies is going up, and that really drives almost everything,” said Jack Epps, the co-writer of “Top Gun” who is chairman of the writing division at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. “If you want to catch an executive’s attention right now, it’s not just selling the script, but you’re showing them how to create a brand.”

Bad news for moviegoers: The advertising partnerships certainly aren’t keeping ticket prices down.

Branding Comes Early in Filmmaking Process [New York Times via Hollywood-Elsewhere]