Alcon Entertainment, the studio behind Blade Runner 2049, is suing French automaker Peugeot over what Alcon says was a bad faith product placement deal.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Alcon filed a 132-page complaint in federal court on Thursday which outlines how the automaker got its on-screen representation in Blade Runner 2049 but skipped out on their end of the bargain by not spending the agreed-upon $30 million for a media campaign that would in turn feature the film. The end result, according to the complaint, is that the lack of promotion from the deal hurt the film's box office success.
"Peugeot never executed any promotion and the Picture undoubtedly suffered for it," the complaint reads. "The Picture had at least $30 million less in paid media to support the film's release than expected, not to mention lost publicity, short-form video pre-ambles never made or released to consumers to pre-tell the story of K's spinner as a Peugeot, and other ways to advance the film with consumers beyond even just paid media, that Peugeot should have been part of, and even led. But that Peugeot wasn't and didn't."
According to the complaint, Alcon had another automaker set to pay a significant fee as well as spend $16 million for co-promotional advertising. However, Peugeot offered a better fee and guaranteed a spend of $30 million on marketing such as commercials, radio, and even short films not too dissimilar to the things carmaker Lexus did for Black Panther and what Audi will do with Avengers: Endgame. In exchange, Alcon would include the automaker's logo in three scenes lasting four seconds each as well as outfit the flying car (called a spinner in the film) that Ryan Gosling's K used with the company's trade dress as well.
While Alcon went forward with their part of things despite early issues with the agreement -- namely that Peugeot allegedly refused a final sign off of the agreement -- and had the Peugeot-branded spinner part of a fan experience at San Diego Comic-Con, Peugeot never did any promotion of Blade Runner 2049. As for the reason why, Alcon offers a handful of suggestions in its complaint -- including a suggestion that the automaker never intended to follow through with their side at all, making the whole deal a bad faith manipulation.
Alcon is asking for $30.5 million in damages as well as interest and attorney's fees. Thus far, Peugeot has not responded to the complaint.
Released in 2017, Blade Runner 2049 is the sequel to 1982's Blade Runner and made $259.2 million at the box office worldwide on a budget of $150 million. The film starred Ryan Gosling as K and saw Harrison Ford reprise his role as Rick Deckard from the original film.
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