When cars are totalled in movies, are real cars used or fake ones?

It’s common to see great cars such as Bentleys, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, etc. in great crashes. Is it the car brands that provide the production companies of movies with ‘fake cars’? When it’s the production companies that make them do brands like it or not? Do they file lawsuits? Some quotes about from www.quora.com.

Aladdin Steiman-Cameron, Student of film and television production, with emphasis in production design

If the brand is featured prominently, the production almost certainly has already gotten permission from the car company. I don’t know about “hero” cars, but for “extra” cars such as the many many many cars totalled in the Transformers movies, they are cars that are ruined by water damage or something similar, and have had the exteriors restored. If the crash needs to look special, they have probably been doctored up so as to crash in an aesthetically pleasing way.

Jon Mixon, Well over 13,000 movies by now.

Actually, it’s uncommon to see luxury or exotic automobiles destroyed in films. This is mainly due to the costs of such vehicles, as well as the costs involved with creating models and mockups of those vehicles.

Most film productions are on relatively tight budgets and as such can only afford to shoot a limited number of action sequences a limited number of times. Even with improvements in digital technology, real cars (or mockups of real cars) have to be used for many stunts. Using expensive foreign models (that would have to be extensively modified for the safety of the stunt performers and the actors) would be prohibitively expensive in all but the biggest budget productions and as a result rarely occurs.

Since automakers like the free publicity and in many cases provide the vehicles for the production for product placements (which is why most films are set in universes where most people drive the same manufacturer’s cars) it’s highly unlikely that many (if any) would sue, as litigation would bring negative attention to their brand.

As far as the “fakes” or mockups used, there are several companies that modify vehicles for use in Hollywood productions, It’s likely that these companies exclusively create the vehicles for the productions as it would cheaper and easier for them to do as such than it would be for the manufacturer. The manufacturer would also avoid any legal responsibility if the mockup was created by another company rather than themselves.

Craig Weiland, Art Director

In the film The Matrix Reloaded (2003), the highway chase scene (hailed by some, including me, as the greatest car chase scene ever put to film) wrecked a lot of automobiles. If you pay attention to the makes and models, you will find they are almost exclusively General Motors brands (including a lot of Oldsmobiles).

The heroes’ car is a Cadillac, and the bad guys’ car (the twins) is also a Cadillac. Police cars are Chevy Impalas and Caprices. Notice that branding on all vehicles has not been obfuscated, which you will occasionally see in films and TV where product placement has not been secured. It’s safe to assume that the filmmakers struck a deal with GM to populate their highway with vehicles and to have the heroes and villains prominently showcase vehicles GM wanted to promote (the silver CTS being driven by Morpheus was not only a brand new model for Cadillac in 2002, but also reflected their new “Art & Science” design language for the new decade).

Also, pay attention to the vehicles being launched into the air in slow-motion, particularly their interiors. You can very plainly see they have been stripped down, with the upholstery removed from door panels. The cars have been prepped and carefully weighted for their stunts for maximum effect. I wouldn’t think the filmmakers expected the doors to fly open like that exposing the interior, but I guess they were happy with the footage anyway.

Darrell Francis, International Administration MA

At least in the case of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, the Ferrari they drive and later destroy is a replica (Ferris Bueller’s ‘Choice’ Ferrari for Sale). The Ferrari body is essentially just a shell placed over the engine and undercarriage of a much cheaper car.

Pat Roberts, Former VFX

It’s common to use a mix of real and CG cars. If driving or a car is prominently featured there will be many identical cars to wreck during production. (Something like the remake of Starsky and Hutch) They are used even after they are wrecked. For example, if the left side is smashed up on one shot, they’ll still use the clean side for other shots. After totally being wrecked they may be quickly spray painted and used in wreckage in other scenes.

CG cars are used where there needs to be a lot of cars being destroyed but they aren’t really foreground elements. For example, a car explodes on a freeway and blows other cars up in the air. The exploding car may be a hero (real) car, and the other ones/parts would be CG.

A big-budget summer film I worked on a few years ago actually blew up the crew’s rental cars. The pyro guy was a little crazier than most and the director had used the rental cars as filler in the background. The first time it was sort of an accident, as the director was losing light and decided it would take too long to move the cars. The pyro guy didn’t *think* they would be damaged. Cars were dented and windows broken. He then made the decision that clearing the debris would be more expensive than painting them out in post… so they got blow’ed up some more. Tcars in movies, car in movie, movie cars, movie car, real car, fake car, cars, movieshe production eventually had their permits pulled and was asked to leave the country where they were filming.

Chris Heiligers, marketing & sales @ Motion Drive sports car rental, writer of chris-heiligers

It depends on the movie. For some James Bond movies (Quantum of Solace & Casino Royale for example) they actually crashed Aston Martins.

From www.quora.com

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