Trivia

Hard

Which Movie Is Claimed to Have “Cursed” Companies Featured Within It?

Blade Runner
Poltergeist
Star Trek
Superman
Harrison Ford starring as Rick Deckard in Blade Runner.
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc./Warner Media, LLC

Answer: Blade Runner

If you’re the superstitious sort, then you’ll find no shortage of Hollywood “curses” to add to your collection of lore and legend. Although the majority of these curses seem to surround horror movies (as the genre lends itself so well to belief in the spooky and occult), horror movies hardly have a monopoly on the phenomenon.

What’s interesting about most of the “cursed” movies and the myths that surround them is that they almost always center on the actors or the people watching the movies. In the case of the acclaimed sci-fi movie Blade Runner, however, the focus of the alleged curse is more obscure: the companies that were featured via product placement. What curse befell them? The worst curse that can befall a company—loss of revenue at best and collapse at worst.

The crux of the folklore around the “Blade Runner Curse” is the number of companies featured in the movie that lost market standing. The movie was released in 1982, but is set in 2019. The inclusion of popular products of the day was essentially a nod to their popularity and their long-standing appeal; in many cases, though, that nod was a bit premature.

Atari, the dominant player in the home video game market the year the movie was released, was a shell of its former self within a decade of Blade Runner’s release. Pan Am and Cuisinart were also featured in the movie; both filed for bankruptcy within a decade. The Bell Telephone Company was featured in the film and the Bell System monopoly was broken up the year after the film was released. RCA, a titan in the electronics industry, was bought out and folded into parent company General Electric. Even the unflappable Coca-Cola took a hit after the movie with their much hated New Coke fiasco in 1985.

This all, of course, begs us to question if any products featured in film have thrived. In the film, Deckard, played by Harrison Ford, purchases a bottle of Tsingtao beer from a street vendor. Although certainly unfamiliar to Western moviegoers, the beer is a real Chinese beer and has been in continual production since 1903. Despite gambling with the Blade Runner Curse, Tsingtao remains one of the best selling beers in China.

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