Star Wars director confirms Apple won't let movie bad guys use iPhones

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Johnson, who directed Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, was talking about his latest movie, murder mystery Knives Out. At around the 2:50 mark in the video, he reveals an interesting fact about Apple’s restrictions on product placement.

Also another funny thing, I don't know if I should say this or not... Not cause it's like lascivious or something, but because it's going to screw me on the next mystery movie that I write, but forget it, I'll say it. It's very interesting.
Apple... they let you use iPhones in movies but -- and this is very pivotal if you're ever watching a mystery movie - bad guys cannot have iPhones on camera.
So oh nooooooo, every single filmmaker that has a bad guy in their movie that's supposed to be a secret wants to murder me right now.

So, remember that if you see someone using an iPhone in a movie, they’re not a bad character.

MacRumors notes that as part of Apple’s guidelines for using Apple trademarks and copyrights, the company says its products should only be shown "in the best light, in a manner or context that reflects favorably on the Apple products and on Apple Inc,” so you’ll never see a serial killer beating someone to death with an iPhone 11.

Ironically, iPhones are often the preferred phone of choice for real-world criminals, usually because of Apple’s refusal to unlock them for the FBI and authorities.

Permalink to story.

 

CBTex

TS Booster
I'm not sure how they can enforce this. Trademark law only prevents someone from using someone's trademark to promote their own item or service. A bad guy in a movie using an iphone isn't being used to say the movie is better or made by Apple because it has iphones. No one sees the Apple logo and thinks, "man, this movie must have been made by Apple."
 

Vanderkaum037

TS Rookie
I'm not sure how they can enforce this. Trademark law only prevents someone from using someone's trademark to promote their own item or service. A bad guy in a movie using an iphone isn't being used to say the movie is better or made by Apple because it has iphones. No one sees the Apple logo and thinks, "man, this movie must have been made by Apple."
Right, did I miss a day in law school? What is their cause of action for enforcing this exactly?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mr Majestyk

Wertle

TS Rookie
This ban must've come in after they made the Jobs movie, Ashton must've held an iphone at least once in that movie.
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
🙄 Yet another attempt at addicting their sheep.
What it they use some knockoff 3rd party no-name brand smartphone but place an Apple logo on it?
The logo is trademarked. crApple would likely have reason to sue. Maybe if the mirrored or inverted or inverted and mirrored the logo, or drew a line through it that might work.
 

mailpup

TS Special Forces
I'm not sure how they can enforce this. Trademark law only prevents someone from using someone's trademark to promote their own item or service. A bad guy in a movie using an iphone isn't being used to say the movie is better or made by Apple because it has iphones. No one sees the Apple logo and thinks, "man, this movie must have been made by Apple."
It's about product placement.

From the article: "...he reveals an interesting fact about Apple’s restrictions on product placement."

Product placement is where companies pay to have their products shown or featured in movies. As this necessarily involves contracts, companies can stipulate certain restrictions. If the restrictions are too objectionable, then the movie producers don't have to sign.
 

captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
Maybe the bad guys could retaliate, by taking a bite out of a real apple, then chucking it in the trash....

That would best be "served up", with a wide angle shot from behind the trash can, with the bad guy at somewhat of a distance.

And remember, "fill that frame up with the flying apple" :p.
 

captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
In other words they can use iPhones. They will not get paid when it is the bad guy using them.
Oh, I don't know. Apple always likes to pretend it's "taking the moral high ground". Plus, they have an army of lawyers who could ostensibly sue for "defamation", if any n'er do wells used their damned phones on camera.

(Don't know how far they'd get, but I wouldn't put it past them).
 

mailpup

TS Special Forces
In other words they can use iPhones. They will not get paid when it is the bad guy using them.
That would depend on the contract provisions. It could be that and/or the production company might have to pay a penalty or perhaps have to scrap and reshoot offending scenes. I don't really know. Just throwing possibilities out there.
 
  • Like
Reactions: cliffordcooley

Vanderkaum037

TS Rookie
In other words they can use iPhones. They will not get paid when it is the bad guy using them.
This makes sense. Either they don't get paid for product placement or they don't get any free Apple swag. It's like, the Navy can't stop you from making a movie about the Navy, but they won't let you film on a real battleship unless you make the Navy look awesome.
 
  • Like
Reactions: cliffordcooley