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Budweiser Not Thrilled About ‘Flight,’ Doesn’t Appreciate Being Linked to Alcoholism

Flight, Budweiser
Paramount Pictures

The Budweiser brewing company is learning a valuable lesson about free publicity. ‘Flight,’ which hit theaters this past weekend to an impressive $25 million at the box office, is facing some drama with the Anheuser-Busch beer company in light of the fact that the product placement of Budweiser can arguably be linked to drunk driving. Talk about a big whoops!

‘Flight’ stars Denzel Washington as an airline pilot accused of drinking on the job. Obviously, there are scenes in the film of the actor consuming Budweiser beer, one of which actually depicts him drinking the beer while driving. Now, apparently this didn’t sit well with the Anheuser-Busch beer company (obviously, we can’t speak for them, but it feels safe to assume no one really wants to be linked to drunk driving).

Deadline reports that Budweiser Vice President Robert McCarthy wrote a letter addressed to director Robert Zemeckis’ Image Movers and Paramount, asking them to remove all images of the brand from the film:

“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. … 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.”

While arguably Mr. McCarthy is justified in his request, courts have previously ruled that movies can legally utilize products as long as it’s done artistically. So, all of this hubbub could be for nothing.

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