Seemingly unprompted, though no doubt in reference to the release of the PlayStation 5, comedian Seth Rogen took to Twitter to offer a peek behind the curtain into the making of movies at the studio level. In his tweet, Rogen revealed that when they were making the action-comedy Pineapple Express they attempted to get permission to use a PlayStation in the movie and were denied, it was a baffling decision for one major reason. "Fun fact: Sony would not clear the #Playstation for use in Pineapple Express," Rogen wrote before adding a parenthetical where he reminded us it was a Sony movie.
After Rogen's tweet, another creative spoke up about names/products unable to be cleared for films, and how it turned out for the better. Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure screenwrtier Ed Solomon offered three similar instances, adding: "7/11 said no to Bill and Ted (hence Circle K). Raging Waters said no (hence “Waterloops”). And, famously, M&Ms said no to E.T. (hence Reese’s Pieces)."
Fun fact: Sony would not clear the #Playstation for use in Pineapple Express (a Sony movie.)— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) November 19, 2020
Released in 2008 as Rogen, James Franco, and Danny McBride were all starting to become household names, Pineapple Express made over $100 million at the global box office off of a $25 million budget. Success like that nearly saw a sequel happen with the studio, with Rogen revealing in an interview on The Howard Stern Show that budget issues were what kept it from becoming a reality.
“We tried to make one and thanks to the Sony hack you can actually find the email when Sony decided to kill the movie and not make it,” Rogen told Stern. “It was something we were very open to several years ago, but Sony was not that interested in it...I think we probably wanted too much money. Studios, they don’t like giving away money. Weird thing,”
As fans of Rogen's work might recall, Pineapple Express 2 was used as a joke in another of his films as 2013 meta horror-comedy This Is the End made an entire gag out of it. In the film Rogen stars as a version of himself alongside his Pineapple Express co-stars James Franco, Craig Robinson, and Danny McBride, plus Jonah Hill and Jay Baruchel; as they're holed up in Franco's home and attempting to stay safe during the literal apocalypse they decide to film "Pineapple Express 2" in their free time (with Jonah Hill taking on the role of Woody Harrelson).