Has Budweiser Derailed Denzel Washington and Flight Oscar Chances?
The industry buzz for Denzel Washington's new movie Flight is beginning to grow as awards' season approaches, though a dispute over product placement is threatening to derail its chances. The movie follows an alcohol pilot, played by Washington, who rescues a plane full of passengers after a crash.
It's got everything the Academy loves: an American hero, drama, suspense, and Denzel Washington, though it's also got a high profile dispute with Budweiser and Stolichnaya. Both brands want glaring shots of their products removed from the film, claiming that neither were contacted prior to filming. Essentially, they object to the way in which their beers are depicted in the movie, which follows Washington's character on a boozy downward spiral. From where the Budweiser PR people are standing, the scenes scream, "DRINK BUDWEISER AND YOU WILL BECOME AN ALCOHOLIC". Budweiser Vice President Robert McCarthy told E! News, "We would never condone the misuse of our products, and have a long history of promoting responsible drinking and preventing drunk driving.It is disappointing that Image Movers, the production company, and Paramount chose to use one of our brands in this manner." A representative for Stoli was equally unimpressed, "As the importer of Stoli to the United States, we were dismayed by the choice of Paramount to include Stoli in the recent film Flight," he said.
On the other hand, both brands have gotten plenty of free publicity as the movie pulled in over $25 million during its opening weekend. And, most people who saw the film probably went and chugged down a Bud afterwards anyway.