Usually corporations are positively begging, by way of advertising dollars, to get their products placed in the movies. But although Denzel Washington might enjoy its beer, Budweiser doesn’t want the actor slugging away at one while driving a car in his new movie Flight. Anheuser-Busch has asked Paramount to either take the Bud logo out or cover it up somehow.
Washington has plenty to drink in the flick, which is all well and good, until his pilot character takes a beer behind the wheel, reports the Associated Press. Stolichnaya vodka is also far from pleased to be featured in the film,and said it didn’t license its brand to be used in the movie, and wouldn’t have given permission if it had been asked in the first place.
From the AP:
Rob McCarthy, vice president of Budweiser, wrote in a statement to The Associated Press that the company wasn’t contacted by Paramount or the production company of director Robert Zemeckis for permission to use the beer in “Flight.”
“We would never condone the misuse of our products, and have a long history of promoting responsible drinking and preventing drunk driving,” McCarthy wrote. “We have asked the studio to obscure the Budweiser trademark in current digital copies of the movie and on all subsequent adaptations of the film, including DVD, On Demand, streaming and additional prints not yet distributed to theaters.”
Industry experts say, however, that studios don’t need to get permission from companies to feature products in their movies. And usually, that’s fine with brands who are hungry to get their products on the silver screen.
But Stoli’s U.S. distributor echoed Budweiser’s concerns, saying in a statement that the company is all about marketing responsibly.
“Considering the subject matter of this film, it is not something in which we would have participated,” said a spokesman.
Legally speaking, there isn’t much recourse for Budweiser and other companies. Trademark laws don’t allow companies to try and control or restrict which real-world products appear in movies as part of the everyday scenery.
To the point of moviemaking magic, it’s much more real to have a character guzzling a Bud than drinking a brand called Tasty Beer or Awesome Ale, or some other clearly made-up product. But remember, everyone: Movies aren’t real life, so even if Denzel drinks and drives, you should not.
Budweiser seeks removal from ‘Flight’ [Associated Press]