Carmakers: When the Pain Is Over, Call Brett Ratner

Avowedly 'Still in the Zeitgeist' Movie Director Seeks a Ride for 'Beverly Hills Cop IV'

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NEW YORK ( -- Attention car marketers: Brett Ratner would like to talk to you about a little movie called "Beverly Hills Cop IV."

AUTO BRANDS: Eddie Murphy could be leaning on your sweet ride in 'Beverly Hills Cop IV.'
AUTO BRANDS: Eddie Murphy could be leaning on your sweet ride in 'Beverly Hills Cop IV.'
Speaking at "The Attention Convention," an Advertising Week panel presented by online ad network Betawave, the director of "X-Men: The Last Stand," the "Rush Hour" trilogy and countless music videos, said he's seeking to create an iconic cinematic moment for an automotive brand on par with the role the Porsche 928 played in "Risky Business." That opportunity may just present itself in the form of the long-in-the-works Eddie Murphy sequel, "Beverly Hills Cop IV," likely to be Mr. Ratner's next big-screen project.

"I know Eddie Murphy is going to have to be in a car. I don't have a car client, but I'm curious to see what car might be a good fit," he said, referring to his fledgling advertising consulting firm, Brett Ratner Brands. "Brands are going to studios all the time trying to get these kinds of deals done, but to me it has to fit the story I'm telling."

That's why Mr. Ratner isn't necessarily looking for a multimillion-dollar marketing partnership on par with "Transformers" and General Motors, a formula he said Fox tried to shoehorn into "X-Men: The Last Stand" by integrating a Mercedes into a key scene.

"They were offering $20 million just to put it in the movie and wanted to show footage at a show in Detroit," he said. "Fox said, 'No way you're showing anything in Detroit.' They didn't end up spending any money, we put the car in the movie anyway, and I gave them 15 minutes of screen time."

Mr. Ratner applies a similar approach to his music videos. He integrated Brett Ratner Brands' inaugural client, Activision, makers of "Guitar Hero," by putting the game in the hands of Miley Cyrus and Mariah Carey. Both clips have racked up tens of millions of views on YouTube and other streaming sites -- and loads of free exposure for "Guitar Hero," although Mr. Ratner doesn't always measure success in terms of total audience.

"The reason I like YouTube is because you can see where people start to mimic what you create," he told M&V after the panel. "There were 100 copies of the Miley Cyrus video within weeks. That shows me I'm still in the zeitgeist of whatever's cool."

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