Anheuser-Busch and the distributor of Stolichnaya vodka have asked Paramount Pictures Corp. to obscure or remove the Budweiser logo from the film "Flight." In the movie, Denzel Washington' character drinks heavily throughout, including while driving.
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." William Grant & Sons, which distributes Stolichnaya in the United States, also said it didn't license its brand for inclusion in the film and wouldn't have given permission if asked.
"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."
Experts say that the use of brands in films has generally been protected by the courts, even when the companies aren't pleased with the portrayals.