Movies and cinema as a whole have the potential to attract millions of people, and by association, rake in millions of pounds at box office. So when it comes down to it, a popular IP can garner a lot of attention from companies who want a slice of that popcorn-covered pie.
Movie cars are something of a staple nowadays, with iconic rides usually coming from leading manufacturers such as Audi in iRobot or Aston Martin in James Bond, but it’s not just the car makers who’ve seen fit to sprinkle their branding throughout the hottest films hitting the big screen. Mobile manufacturers have also seen the benefits and their presence has become increasingly apparent in Hollywood blockbusters of late.
We’ve picked a handful of movies which have chosen to feature some particularly memorable handsets, many of which you’ll hopefully recognise too, take a look.
1. The Matrix
The Matrix trilogy portrayed a dark take on the human condition whilst following the build up to humanity’s last stand, led by superhuman Neo aka, The One. As climactic as the situation became by the third film, it was Nokia who acted as the indirect catalyst that set Mr Anderson’s story into motion back in the first movie.
The original 1999 film featured an innocuous white envelope which appeared at his office desk containing a Nokia 8110. The sudden spring-loaded action was added for dramatic effect but made it into production in its successor, the Nokia 7110 which actually launched the same year as the original film.
The product team even revisited the spring-loaded phone concept with use of a Samsung SPH-N270 in The Matrix Reloaded (2003). Despite being desirable in the context of the movie, the real world handset is possibly one of the worst looking Samsung phones to date.
2. James Bond
Daniel Craig brought a new dimension to the Bond franchise with his portrayal of a younger, less experienced Bond, not quite accustomed the lifestyle of a 00 Agent. Alongside the myriad of gadgets provided to Bond by MI6, Sony were able to supply the production team with a significant amount of own brand products that feature heavily throughout both existing Craig films.
Craig’s Bond debut in 2006 showed the master spy utilising a very specialised Sony Ericsson K800i, capable of downloading building schematics and displaying complex 3D models. Unfortunately it was movie magic that made this possible and not a forthcoming OTA update that users might have hoped for. Key Bond girl Vesper, played by Eva Green also made use of a Sony Ericsson, an M600i, which gave Bond his lead to the mysterious Mr White near the end of Royale.
The Sony Ericsson/Bond partnership remained strong for Craig’s return in Quantum of Solace (2008), with shameless displays of SE branding as Bond inspected a picture of his new nemesis, Dominic Greene. Sony Ericsson then went on to release a special movie edition of the C902 like the one which was used in the film.
Although it was cars, trucks and military aircraft that spent the majority of their time transforming into hulking robot aliens and duking it out during Michael Bay’s 2007 live-action version of Transformers, it was Nokia who made a significant appearance from the mobile industry. Not only did a Nokia N93i receive a notable portion of dialogue, but the team at ILM were able to transform the phone into a miniature death machine, complete with Gatling gun, missiles and an awful temper.
4. Iron Man
Tony Stark may be a playboy billionaire-cum-superhero, but he also is a big fan of endorsing LG’s mobile products, or rather LG were a big fan of paying for notable product placement in the recent Iron Man movies. In the original Robert Downey Iron Man (2008), we saw Tony making use of an LG VX9400 not once, but twice during the film.
Initially Stark is seen video-calling with then-colleague Obadiah Stane whilst demonstrating his firm’s new Jericho missile, but it’s the second instance, where Tony’s Humvee comes under fire that he sends the message that ultimately led to his safe return back to the United States; and all thanks to LG, as they would no doubt say.
By the second film (2010), LG as with Iron Man’s suits have to take it up a notch and in the opening courtroom hearing, we see Tony Stark highjack the in house displays using LG’s Transparent Concept Phone; a way off in reality, but enjoyable to see in use in the movies.
5. Star Trek
This sci-fi super franchise effectively led the way with regards to the concept of mobile communicators and by the time the 2009 reboot was scheduled to take place, things had nearly come full circle. Although Nokia did release a special edition 5800 to tie into the film’s launch, it wasn’t until a year later that this impressive prototype emerged.
A Nokia-built handset that looked more science fiction than science fact, the Nokia Starfleet Communicator prototype borrowed all the key elements from the sci-fi series’ distinctive walkie-talkies. Although this prototype never saw general release, it was found online and available for purchase in its unfinished form.
6. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
Ghost Protocol (2011) was a strong return to form for the MI series. Although the IMF had been disavowed, Ethan Hunt and his team of now rogue agents were still able to defeat the bad guys and thwart their evil nuclear plot. Thankfully, they were also able to squeeze in a number of distinctive mobiles phones throughout the feature, with the likes of the iPhone 4S, Dell Streak 5, Vertu Constellation Quest and Vertu Constellation Ayxta all having a lengthy stay in front of the camera lens, no doubt racking up a costly bill for the props department in the process.
Of course there are hundreds of other identifiable phones which have helped, hindered or shamelessly promoted themselves in the presence of a movie’s protagonist on screen, but we’ve picked the most prominent devices that spring to mind currently. Going forward, which movie mobiles would you like to see crop up on the silver screen? Why not send us your ideas via our Twitter feed or in the comments section below.