In Flight, Denzel Washington plays a boozehound pilot who miraculously keeps an airplane from crashing. Things have been going very well for Flight – the film has garnered good reviews, praises for Washington’s “Oscar-worthy” performance, and also managed to have a healthy box office debut this past weekend. But there’s been a slight turn of events, as some of the liquor companies whose products are featured in the film are asking Paramount to remove their items.
The AP is reporting that Anheuser-Busch is displeased with how Budweiser beer is being portrayed in Robert Zemeckis‘ Flight, as the brewing company never licensed the use of their product to the Paramount film. Rob McCarthy, vice president of Budweiser, released the following statement expressing how he feels about the use of his product in the film:
“We would never condone the misuse of our products, and have a long history of promoting responsible drinking and preventing drink driving.”
McCarthy is referring to a particular scene in which Washington’s character is drinking a Bud beer while driving. The VP continues, saying:
“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.”
Anheuser-Busch isn’t the only booze company displeased with Flight. William Grant & Sons, the distributor of Stolichnaya vodka in the U.S., is saying they also did not license the use of their product.
But, here’s the thing, studios aren’t actually required to ask companies for permission before featuring a product in their film.
Daniel Nazer, a resident at Stanford Law School’s Fair Use Project says that trademark laws aren’t there to give companies the right to control and censor movies and TV shows that include “real-world” products. Courts have ruled that products can be featured in movies regardless of whether companies have allowed them to or not. This, of course, as long as their appearance in the project is “artistically relevant.”
It looks like the filmmakers have nothing to worry about. Also, we doubt that people are going to stop drinking a specific type of beer or vodka just because some character in some movie was drinking and driving.
What do you think?
Source: Cinema Blend