At the Movies: It’s Brand vs. Brand as Hop Trumps Arthur


It was an ironic weekend at the box office. Russell Brand vehicle Hop dueled with Russell Brand vehicle Arthur for the top spot. Hop (once again) won the weekend, the widely panned Arthur didn’t — and Brand’s brand is now up for a bit of rebranding it seems.

We’ve already looked at the product placement in Hop, so let’s look at the oddity that is Arthur — a film featuring both product placement for Maker’s Mark and Alcoholics Anonymous.[more]

The original 1981 film cast Dudley Moore as the title’s lovable drunk. The 2011 remake sticks to the original script with one new twist for the post nipple-slip age of puritanism: Arthur goes to rehab. But that doesn’t mean there can’t be product placement for booze brands, right?

That the reboot of Arthur contained a whole new storyline about Alcoholics Anonymous, while at the same time featuring so much product placement for Maker’s Mark, is one of those bizarre ironies of the various forces at play in a broadly-targeted Hollywood production of the modern day.

It should be noted that the original Arthur was not without product placement, but, ironically enough, not of the alcohol variety. For a good portion of the film, Liza Minnelli cavorted in a Ferrari-branded t-shirt:

That the 2011 version stars Brand, a celebrity vocal about his own recovery from addiction, only adds to the irony. The recovered Brand has of course played the drunken rake before. In last year’s Get Him to the Greek, Brand was seen soaking in his tub, guzzling a bottle of Ketel One.

But probably most ironic of all is how his wife, pop star Katy Perry, recently made news when she criticized artists for too much product placement. (She does watch his movies, yes?)

Actually, that was not the greatest irony of the Arthur release weekend. No, that is reserved for the fact that the updated version of Arthur with its new substance abuse recovery plot line opened the same weekend as Your Highness — a thinly veiled film dope smoking movie (from the producers and stars of the not-at-all-veiled dope smoking movie Pineapple Express).

Visit Brandcameo for more on the brands featured in Hop and a decade’s worth of product placement in movies.