Just FYI: The Smoking in ‘Gran Torino’ Was Done for Free

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Near the end of the closing credits for Clint Eastwood's new Gran Torino is a disclaimer that caught my attention. It reads as follows:

"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."

In other words: Some of the characters smoke in this movie, but that was our choice. The tobacco industry didn't pay us off.

According to the site Smoke Free Movies, which makes some excellent points but tends to go overboard (they think any film with smoking should automatically be rated R), the disclaimer is a recent addition to Warner Bros. products. It started appearing on Warner DVDs of movies that contain smoking at the beginning of 2008, and was added to smoky theatrical releases this fall. Gran Torino was the first time I'd noticed it, but I don't always stay for the credits.

The site also reports that Universal Pictures (at the behest of its parent company, General Electric) has started including a somewhat weaker disclaimer on its movies that contain smoking: "The depictions of tobacco smoking contained in this film are based solely on artistic consideration and are not intended to promote tobacco consumption." Note that they don't say they weren't paid off by the tobacco industry, only that they didn't intend for it to encourage people to smoke.

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