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Budweiser objects to 'Flight'

FLIGHT (Nov. 2) After crash-landing a passenger plane,

FLIGHT (Nov. 2)
After crash-landing a passenger plane, pilot Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) is hailed as a hero. But what really happened? The film also stars Don Cheadle, Melissa Leo and John Goodman. Credit: Paramount Pictures

Anheuser-Busch, the company that brews The King of Beers, wants its cans taken out of the movie "Flight," according to Reuters.

"Flight" stars Denzel Washington as Whip Whitaker, an alcoholic pilot who spends much of the film chugging various name-brand beverages. In one scene, Whip drives around his neighborhood sipping cans of Budweiser.

Robert McCarthy, vice president of Budweiser, sent a letter to the film's studios, Image Movers and Paramount Pictures, asking them "to obscure the Budweiser trademark in current digital copies of the movie and on all subsequent adaptations of the film."

McCarthy said Budweiser had no knowledge that its products would be used in the movie and had not been contacted by the studios. “We would never condone the misuse of our products, and have a long history of promoting responsible drinking and preventing drunken driving," he said in the letter.

"Flight" is probably not legally bound to obscure or blur out the Budweiser brand, according to experts cited by The Associated Press, because courts have already ruled that products may be used in movies without their companies' permission as long as there is some artistic relevance.

Stolichnaya vodka, another drink favored by the besotted Whip in "Flight," has also objected to its use. William Grant & Sons, which distributes Stolichnaya in the United States, said wasn't it asked for permission to use the brand and wouldn't have agreed.

Other brands that could raise an objection: Smirnoff and Ketel One, whose mini-bottles play crucial roles in the film's plot.

As a side note, "Flight" also features more smoking than most movies are comfortable showing these days. Whip and another addict (played by Kelly Reilly) meet while sneaking a cigarette, and both smoke profusely throughout the film. There's also a scene of Whip inhaling cocaine via cigarette (it's called a "coco-puff"). The filmmakers, however, apparently steered clear of using any recognizable cigarette brands. Whip's favorite smoke is an apparently fictional brand called "Brunswick."

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