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I just saw Men in Black 3 and enjoyed it immensely. There was practically no smoking in the film. In MIB 1 and 2, there was a lot of smoking and tobacco product placement. Did the makers of the films get any payoff from the tobacco industry?

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Really? Can you share some scenes where smoking is prevalent in the MiB 1 & 2? –  System Down May 29 '12 at 23:43
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He's probably referring to the alien 'bugs' who are always seen smoking in the coffee room or wheeling cartons of cigarettes across the HQ floor. –  Nobby May 30 '12 at 1:12
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I don't know how to post feedback, so this isn't really an answer. In addtion to the scenes described by Nobby, in MIB1, K lights a cigarette. In MIB2, the Tony Shalhoub character yells "Smoke 'em if you got 'em!" before he fires up the deneuralizer. In MIB2, someone tells one of the postal employees to stop smoking, so he stops, then starts again. In MIB2, the Johnny Knoxville character has a bumper sticker read "Complaining about my smoking can be hazardous to your health" or something extremely similar, on his refrigerator. The brand name of the cartons of cigarettes the 'bugs' wheel around –  user1398 May 30 '12 at 2:37
    
Product placement is typically paid for, it's a gray area when it comes to spoofs. If the brand being shown is a registered trademark, it falls under fair use as a creative work, or paid placement with permission to use the brand and its registered trademark. If the creative use defamates the brand barring explicit written permission for that context, lawsuits will surely follow. –  Tim Post May 30 '12 at 18:11
    
Perhaps these anti-smoking laws prevented a realistic presence of smokers in MIB3, as in real life you can't smoke in public places in NYC. –  user209 Jun 1 '12 at 19:57

1 Answer 1

Officially, Men in Black II received no funding, but some anti-smoking groups claim secret payments are regularly made by tobacco companies to film-makers.

Both Men in Black (1997) and Men in Black II (2002) show Marlboro cigarettes.

Men in Black II was made after the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, originally between the four largest United States tobacco companies (including Marlboro manufacturer Philip Morris USA) and the attorneys general of 46 states, which included restrictions on youth targeting:

Generally, the participating manufacturers agree not to "take any action, directly or indirectly, to target Youth within any Settling State in the advertising, promotion or marketing of Tobacco Products, or take any action the primary purpose of which is to initiate, maintain or increase the incidence of Youth smoking within any Settling State." (§III(a))

According to Smoke Free Movies, the makers of Men in Black II didn't receive any payment for showing Marlboro, but they suggest there are secret agreements and payments made by tobacco companies to film-makers.

From "Superman II took $ 43,000 to push Marlboros at kids. Why would Men in Black II do the same thing for free?" (pdf):

Yet Hollywood keeps cranking out G, PG and PG13 fare that promotes smoking and specific tobacco brands. It looks just like paid product placement. Hollywood denies it.

Example? Men in Black II reportedly received $35 million in “promotional support” for flashing logos on-screen including Burger King ($15 million tied into special kid-meal deals) and Sprint, and for placing products from Ray-Ban, Mercedes-Benz and Hamilton (Swatch).

Of all products featured, we are asked to believe the world’s most heavily-advertised cigarette brand, Marlboro, appeared for free: no cash, no favors of any kind.

Why would MIIB executive producer Steven Spielberg indulge a director promoting the Marlboro brand to kids?

Why would director Barry Sonnenfeld feel compelled to show his cartoon-like characters gleefully smoking up a storm?

Why would Sony Pictures and other high-profile brands risk their reputations and millions of promotional dollars linking themselves to a movie that favors the most despised industry in the world — Big Tobacco?

They're also asking for films to certify no pay-offs at the end of films, with a statement:

No person or entity associated with this film received payment or anything of value, or entered into any agreement, in connection with the depiction of tobacco products.

I recently watched Gran Torino (2008), which showed unbranded smoking, and it carried such a certificate at the end of the credits.

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+1 Great answer! –  stevvve Jun 2 '12 at 14:30

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