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Neill Blomkamp Personally Chose The Products Placed In 'Elysium,' Explains Why He Selected Certain Companies

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist June 17, 2013 at 1:52PM

The discussion around product-placement has increased in recent weeks, mostly thanks to "The Internship" which some have called "Google: The Movie." Some of that talk has been a bit overblown, as Vince Vaughn and co. actually approached the company to ask if they could use them, preferring to use a real company as the thrust of the story instead of a fake corporation. Moreover, Google didn't actually produce the movie either, so while yes, their name is everywhere, it's part and parcel of the actual movie and story.
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Elysium Neill Blomkamp

The discussion around product-placement has increased in recent weeks, mostly thanks to "The Internship" which some have called "Google: The Movie." Some of that talk has been a bit overblown, as Vince Vaughn and co. actually approached the company to ask if they could use them, preferring to use a real company as the thrust of the story instead of a fake corporation. Moreover, Google didn't actually produce the movie either, so while yes, their name is everywhere, it's part and parcel of the actual movie and story. And it's interesting to see something like "Man Of Steel" get a pass when it had advance tickets sold at Walmart (the company also hosted a featurette), with National Guard, Carl Jr.'s and Nokia branded trailers and teasers, Sears and IHOP given prominent action settings in the movie... we digress. Basically, brands and movies in big summer films will continue and that includes Neill Blomkamp's "Elysium." Although, with a bit of a twist.

The Wall Street Journal reveals that the upcoming sci-fi movie will have more than few prominent brands featured, however, the director himself emailed the companies he wanted to include, and moreover, cash didn't exchange hands. "This film has been an oddity in the product-placement world because I am not looking for any money from the brands we are using," he said in his letter to Bugatti. "I really want them because I [can] make the film better."

So, Bugatti? The high-priced car company? Why? Well, it's to underscore the divide between the wealthy -- who live on the space station Elysium in the film -- and the poor who live on Earth, with Jodie Foster's CEO riding a Bugatti spaceship between Earth and home. "If you had a bunch of rich people living up there, they would have the equivalent of Ferraris and Bugattis that they fly around with," Blomkamp explained, adding: "Basically, what I wanted to do was make a Bugatti that's 150 years in the future, and those don't come with wheels." 

Meanwhile, on the more affordable end of things is Nissan. "The GT-R is one of the coolest high-performance cars for sale out there now," Blomkamp said of the retrofitted vehicle. "I wanted to make the GT-R the Earth's version of a high-performance car." Seemingly chosen for story instead of advertising, "Elysium" will also feature Kawasaki and Versace logos in the movie, though in places you might not expect (the former on Matt Damon's body armor, the latter on a longevity pod).

So is this an acceptable use of logos in a movie? Or is it still invasive? Let us know below.

This article is related to: Elysium, Neill Blomkamp