It's hardly E.T., and it's not Reese's Pieces candy. But the just-released Twentieth Century Fox flick The Chase, starring Charlie Sheen and Kristy Swanson, is an unabashed 88-minute commercial for BMW's $32,000 325is sedan--complete with heart-thumping chase scenes that highlight the car's handling abilities.
Better yet, BMW got the attention free. The script calls for Sheen to kidnap Swanson and head for the Mexican border in her shiny red BMW. So the carmaker, which keeps a fleet of 12 cars handy for movie placements, sent over three of them without paying the usual fee for placing products in motion pictures.
BMW has turned down starring roles for its cars--when they would be used for drug dealers, for instance, says spokesman Thomas O. Mc- Gurn. It didn't object to The Chase script--not even when Sheen and Swanson are depicted having sex in the front seat while cruising at nearly 100 mph. "No one is going to take that one seriously," McGurn says.
Still, he frets that the Swanson character got the car as a gift from her wealthy father: "There are a lot of career women out there who also buy the car."