Making feature films is an imprecise business. Marketing is an imprecise science. Put the two together, and you get things like Chrysler paying $3 million to get the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited showcased in the 2005 film Sahara.
The big budget blockbuster opened at number one, but turned into a big dusty flop that lost $78 million. If Jeep didn't get any positive halo association from the film, it can be happy that it's Wrangler wasn't seen getting stuck in or cut from the film altogether. As one producer who wrote to the film's execs put it, "You can't have the truck get almost stuck. I would bet that Jeep will have a heart attack when they see that. They want to show how well the Jeep handles and responds -- not that it will get stuck in a tough situation." At another point, the same producer told the director he couldn't cut a scene he was having a problem with, saying simply "Can't cut. Jeep to pay 3 million."
Chrysler's other movie partnerships have included Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life (Jeep), and Firewall (Chrysler 300C), none of which burned up the box office. Still, if you're a fan of Sahara and want to help Jeep recoup its money, you might still be able to order a special edition Wrangler at the Jeep Sahara site.
[Source: Detroit News]