On January 10, 2019, Alcon Entertainment filed a lawsuit in California federal court against French car maker, Peugeot, claiming that it has not been paid the $30 million promised by the French auto maker to have its logo prominently featured in the movie “Blade Runner 2049.”
Alcon described in its 132-page complaint how Peugeot worked with the studio for months to perfect the look of the flying car at issue, known as “spinner” in the movie, which flying car would feature the Peugeot logo, in exchange for a $500,000 product placement fee, as well as $30 million that would be used to produce advertisements for marketing the film and brand. However, Peugeot did not pay anything, and even claimed an official deal was never reached.
The “Blade Runner” franchise is known for incorporating well-known brands, such as Coca-Cola and Pan Am, into their films, and making product placement of such brands “an integral part of the franchise,” according to the complaint.
Alcon stated, “Peugeot was just using the product placement as a strategy to return to the United States market after being away for 35 years,” and that “The brand would have a presence throughout the storyline of a major motion picture that would not only be seen by tens of millions of people around the world in its initial theatrical release alone, but had real prospects to be an enduring piece of human art that would remain relevant, viewed and revered for decades.”
During production, Peugeot is alleged to have kept delaying on signing an official paper version of its agreement with Alcon, and eventually tried to break the deal and pretend it had never existed. By this point, just months before the film was due to be released, it would have been impossible to remove the Peugeot product placement from the film or get a new automotive partner.
According to the complaint, product placement agreements do not need to be in formal signed contracts to be enforceable under California or U.S. law. Though “Blade Runner 2049” grossed about $260 million in worldwide box office, Alcon said it missed $30 million worth of marketing, and without having paid a cent, Peugeot’s brand got at least 12 seconds of screen time, along with prominent placement on the film’s marketing posters featuring “spinner.”
The suit includes claims of breach of contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, promissory estoppel, breach of duty to negotiate in good faith, fraud, reasonable value of services and quantum meruit.
Alcon is represented by Edward M. Anderson and Regina Yeh of Anderson Yeh PC.
Counsel information for Peugeot was is not yet available.
The case is Alcon Entertainment LLC v. Automobiles Peugeot SA et al., case number 2:19-cv-00245, in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
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