Per a report by AP entertainment reporter Anthony McCartney, Anheuser-Busch never explicitly authorized the inclusion of the brand in the Paramount Pictures release. What’s more, the studio is likely well within its anti-product placement rights via a scene showing Captain Whip Whitaker enjoying one in the cockpit:
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,” said Daniel Nazer, a resident fellow at Stanford Law School’s Fair Use Project. “It is the case that often filmmakers get paid by companies to include their products. I think that’s sort of led to a culture where they expect they’ll have control. That’s not a right the trademark law gives them.”
Since Paramount and parent company Viacom deal on other fronts with various situations where Anheuser-Busch is a creative sponsor, the studio may well decide to acquiesce to this year’s strangest digital movie alteration – the blurring of Denzel’s beer can. William Grant & Sons, the American distributor of Stolichnaya vodka, is also reportedly none too thrilled to be propping up the Robert Zemeckis film.
Read McCartney’s full report here.