General Motors Could Turn ‘Cannonball Run’ Into a Feature-Length Commercial; Guy Ritchie Still Possible Director
Posted on Wednesday, October 19th, 2011 by Russ Fischer
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?