The movie Flight, in which Denzel Washington portrays a drunk but capable pilot, was a box office hit this weekend but there's a problem brewing with the director Robert Zemeckis' choice of booze.
In one scene, Washington's character is seeing drinking Budweiser while driving. That was enough for Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser, to want to pull out of the film. The company to ask the brand be removed or obscured from digital copies of the film, such as DVDs, that have yet to be distributed.
"We would never condone the misuse of our products, and have a long history of promoting responsible drinking and preventing drunk driving," said Rob McCarthy, a vp at Budweiser, in a statement to the Associated Press.
However, Washington's character doesn't just indulge in beer. Throughout the film, he's seen drinking several brands of vodka, including Stoli. Both Anheuser-Busch and William Grant & Sons, which distributes Stoli vodka, allege their products were used in the film without their consentand that given the nature of the film, they would not have granted permission to use.
But just because the companies don't want their brands used in a film doesn't mean they won't be, according to Daniel Nazer, a resident fellow at Stanford Law School's Fair Use Project. "[Trademark laws] don't exist to give companies the right to control and censor movies and TV shows that might happen to include real-world items," he said.
Our guess is this is only the beginning of a controversy that can only be blamed on the alcohol.