The high-flying, alcoholic commercial airline pilot Whip Whitaker, portrayed by Denzel Washington in the drama “Flight,” has drawn objections from the beer brewer Anheuser-Busch and the distributor of Stolichnaya vodka for using their products in the movie without authorization, The Associated Press reported.
Whitaker consumes a vast array of drugs and alcoholic products by a number of makers in the film, which was directed by Robert Zemeckis and took in about $24.9 million at the domestic box-office for Paramount Pictures over the weekend. But both Anheuser-Busch and the Stolichnaya distributor told The A.P. that the products were used without authorization and would not have been approved for use in the movie.
Anheuser-Busch, which makes Budweiser beer, also said it had asked Paramount to remove or obscure its company brand name in the film, in which Whitaker both drives and flies while drinking.
“We would never condone the misuse of our products, and have a long history of promoting responsible drinking and preventing drunk driving,” an Anheuser-Busch spokesman said in a statement to The A.P. “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 filmmakers often receive payments to place products in a film, manufacturers do not have blanket control over the portrayal of their wares. Robert Lawson, a spokesman for Paramount, declined to comment on the objections.