It’s time for another round of Hypothetical Movie Contract Info. Early this year we heard that Warner Bros. is looking at making a new film called Cannonball Run. That is, of course, the name of an early ’80s racing comedy that spawned a sequel and one or two tenuously-connected DTV films. I probably wouldn’t call this a remake, as a new Cannonball Run is likely to bear as much resemblance to the 1981 film as Steven Soderberg’s Ocean’s Eleven did to the Rat Pack movie with which it shares a name.

That’s not an idle mention of Ocean’s Eleven. Not only did Rat Pack-ers figure into the original Cannonball Run; the current report is that Guy Ritchie, previously mentioned as a possible director, is still the studio pick for the film. And he wants to enlist Brad Pitt and George Clooney, the better to make an Oceans Eleven-style film.

Or perhaps we should say ‘commercial’ instead of ‘film,’ as General Motors is also nearing a deal to finance the movie, as a showcase for the best cars GM can build.

Vulture has the report and suggests that the whole thing is really a big agency package from CAA, which reps Ritchie, Pitt and GM. The site does a certain amount of theorizing about h0w GM financing the film could turn the movie into a 2-hour commercial for the company’s cars. And Vulture is probably right about that — this is the next logical step in product placement. I’m surprised we don’t see more of this already.

The first question is: will this actually happen? We can’t answer that yet; I would be surprised to see Guy Ritchie pull in Pitt and Clooney, but beyond that I can see the deal coming together. So if it did happen — if GM helped Warner Bros. get a new Cannonball Run into theaters — would it matter that the film had such corporate backing? Or is product placement already enough of an expected element in a movie of that type that it wouldn’t matter much?

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