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article imageStolichnaya asks Paramount to remove vodka from ‘Flight’ movie

By Anne Sewell     Nov 8, 2012 in Entertainment
Los Angeles - Makers of Budweiser and the US distributor of Stolichnaya vodka are asking Paramount Pictures to remove branded bottles of vodka and beer from the new film "Flight", which depicts Denzil Washington as a drunk pilot.
The new drama "Flight" is the story of an alcoholic pilot (Washington), who flies a plane while high on drugs and drink. While the pilot becomes a hero briefly, for saving everyone on board when the plane crashes, once it becomes known that he was drunk, things change drastically for him. The movie comes from the Oscar-winning director of "Forest Gump" and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit", Robert Zemeckis.
The New York-based distributor of Stolichnaya vodka, William Grant & Sons Inc., told the Hollywood Reporter in a statement, that the inclusion of "Stoli" in the film violates the company's internal code of responsible marketing and also the responsible practices of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.
Anheuser-Busch Cos., maker of Budweiser, has also asked Paramount Pictures to remove the beer from the film.
Jonathan Yusen, senior vice-president of marketing for William Grant & Sons in North America said, "Considering the subject matter of the film ‘Flight’, it is certainly not a project in which we would have willingly participated."
"The inclusion directly contradicts the codes and our commitment to responsible marketing."
However, the Hollywood Reporter said that while trademark and copyright laws prevent logos from being used without permission, movie makers are granted "fair use" privileges under federal law. These privileges do not forbid use of protected materials without obtaining permission from the rights holder.
Along with this, Anheuser-Busch Cos., the St Louis-based Budweiser company, has asked for its logo to be removed or obscured on digital copies of the film, and also on future DVD versions. Budweiser vice-president Rob McCarthy told Associated Press in a statement that "We would never condone the misuse of our products and have a long history of promoting responsible drinking and preventing drunk driving."
William "Whip" Whitaker, the pilot, portrayed by Denzel Washington, doesn't only imbibe Budweiser and Stolichnaya vodka in the movie. He also gets stuck into Smirnoff and Absolut vodkas. In one scene, the character is also portrayed as staring longingly at an open hotel minibar, with many alcohol labels visible.
"Flight" has apparently already earned $24.9 million since it opened on November 2, and Paramount has so far declined to comment.
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