Playboy's presence in The House Bunny went a smidge beyond what most filmgoers would count as garden-variety product placement; the title and marketing materials alone conspicuously invoked Hugh Hefner's registered trademark, and the story — a model ousted from the Playboy Mansion finds redemption with a clan of sorority outcasts — made the magazine integral to its heroine's rich feminist empowerment. So what's a studio's going rate for that kind of feature-length exposure? Details are sketchy but surprising — especially with Playboy making the money — not the gang at Columbia Pictures.A report today in The Guardian points out what we suspected since seeing Hef's long-form commercial in August: The old man cashed in, not only on the use of his brand but also while playing himself as a bereft mogul caught up in the conspiracy that expelled Anna Faris's upbeat Shelly from Eden in the first place. For an undisclosed sum, Hef lent Playboy, the mansion, his girlfriends and his pajamaed self to the producers; in exchange, the studio got the verisimilitude of an authentic break-up inside the 82-year-old's plush redoubt. At least they thought it would be authentic; that centerfold bargaining chip probably won't be enough to entice Holly Madison back to his bed. But hey, close enough. Memo to studios: For a better bang for your buck, next time consult Defamer first. In terms of drama, brand and cheap nudity, trust us — we can swim grotto laps around Playboy.
- The Curious Case of 'The House Bunny'... [The Guardian]