Movies can’t change the world, but one upcoming documentary might make people plenty angry about the commercials they didn’t pay to see on screen.
Documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, he of the endless appetite for Big Macs, is taking aim at product placement with “POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.”
The film, out in select theaters April 22, examines how sneaky ads slip into mainstream movies in Spurlock’s inimitable style.
Said style didn’t serve him well in “Where in the World is Osama bin Laden,” a shallow look at the nexus between terrorism and the Western world.
He should be on much more solid ground with “Sold,” but just how cozy did he get with the sponsors?
Spurlock did one promotional appearance with some of the executives featured in the film, and he covered the film’s costs completely with, yup, product placements. It sounds perfectly meta, but let’s hope he also skewers a film industry which slams big business on screen while simultaneously squeezing every last nickel out of consumers.
Spurlock may be making a point by using sponsors to bring “Sold” to theaters. It’s hard to begrudge an independent filmmaker for throwing a Home Depot ad into his or her film if it means the difference between shutting down the production and making it to the final credits. When I watched “Two Tickets to Paradise” last year I spotted several glaring product placement moments. But the film, a labor of love made on the proverbial shoestring by actor turned auteur D.B. Sweeney, likely needed those product placements to keep the shoot alive.
But seeing Spider-Man swing over a billboard for Pepsi feels insulting when one considers all of the money being made by Spidey, Inc.
(Photo: Morgan Spurlock’s new documentary: POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” promises to expose the product placement movement in film for all to see. Sony Pictures Classics)