Final Inspection

Chrysler Starting to Go Hollywood Again

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The OEM makes appearances in two summer blockbusters and takes the Dart on the road.

The purse-strings at Chrysler appear to be loosening each day.

The auto maker ventures into some light product placement this summer with features in two prominent popcorn flicks: “The Dark Knight Rises” and “Total Recall,” a revamp of the 1990 Schwarzenegger original.

“Dark Knight” already has premiered in theaters, but looking for Chrysler wasn’t an easy task. Eagle-eyed moviegoers might have noticed a Chrysler logo stitched into seating of one of billionaire Bruce Wayne’s massive fleet, but that’s about it.

But “Total Recall” puts Chrysler front and center. During a pre-screening with a few of Chrysler’s staff Thursday night, we saw the brand everywhere, from a Chrysler 200 ad that runs after trailers for other flicks, to Chrysler-branded hovercraft and Dodge-branded police chasers. Even Fiat gets some shine, though without giving too much away I won’t say how.

Chatter among top brass suggests that the reason for Chrysler’s lessened presence in “Dark Knight” was because the two competing studios – Warner Bros. for “Dark Knight,” Columbia for “Total Recall” – didn’t want two summer films heavy on Chrysler product, so there had to be some compromise.

But it’s a good step as Chrysler gets back into the entertainment game. Next up: A nationwide music tour with the Dodge Dart, as Chrysler teams up with media giant Clear Channel Communications for a giveaway of the compact car to a lucky music listener.

Drivers can test-drive the Dart in select dealers nationwide and automatically be entered into the sweepstakes. Twelve winners are chosen to go to Clear Channel’s “iHeartRadio” music fest in Las Vegas, and one winner gets a Dart customized by Pitbull, the Miami rapper whose tunes are heard in a new Fiat ad.

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