Anheuser-Busch InBev, which makes Budweiser, is riled about the role its brew has in the new film “Flight,” which stars Denzel Washington as a pilot whose drinking habits become an issue in the aftermath of a plane crash.
The brewer went so far as to ask the film’s backer, Paramount Pictures, to blur or remove its famous logo from the movie when it is released on DVD, television and made available for streaming, said a person familiar with the situation who was unwilling to speak publicly on the issue.
“We would never condone the misuse of our products, and have a long history of promoting responsible drinking and preventing drunk driving,” said Anheuser-Busch Vice President Rob McCarthy. “It is disappointing that Image Movers, the production company, and Paramount chose to use one of our brands in this manner.”
The movie, about the aftermath of a horrific plane crash, opened last weekend in the U.S. and Canada with a strong $25 million in ticket sales.
Anheuser-Busch said Tuesday that it received no advance notice from Paramount that its product would be appearing in the film. But a lawsuit against the studio seems highly unlikely. The courts have typically sided with the creative community when it comes to featuring products in movies.
Some wonder if Anheuser-Busch’s complaints about the film might not bring the brewer more attention than if it had just kept quiet about the matter.
“I think they are being overly sensitive,” said Allen Adamson, managing partner with the branding firm Landor Associates.