Black & Decker Inc., whose big scene was cut from the movie "Die Hard 2," has pounced on 20th Century Fox Film Corp. and the Krown/Young & Rubicam marketing agency with all the vengeance of a scorned starlet.
In a civil suit filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, the Towson-based toolmaker is accusing Fox and the agency of negligence and breach of contract for failing to fulfill promises to show a Black & Decker power drill in the Bruce Willis film.
The suit demands at least $150,000 in damages, plus interest and costs from the defendants.
According to court papers, Krown/Young & Rubicam promised the toolmaker it would provide prominently displayed, "hands-on usage" of a Black & Decker cordless Univolt drill in a scene in which Bruce Willis was to remove an air-duct grill in an airport tunnel.
The marketers said "Die Hard 2" would "provide a great deal of synergy for Black & Decker" because the film's June 1990 release would enable the toolmaker to "capitalize on the Father's Day gift-buying season," according to an exhibit in the case.
Black & Decker's suit said company officials initially were "reluctant" to pay Fox a $20,000 promotional fee to showcase the power drill in the movie. However, after repeated promises that the tool company would "achieve strong positioning" in the movie, the company agreed to become "promotional partners" with Fox and Krown/Young & Rubicam.
But the promised scene died on the cutting-room floor.
Black & Decker never paid Fox the $20,000, but the company claims it spent more than $150,000 to develop an advertising and sales promotion campaign for a potential 17,000 retail outlets after receiving a written promise from an associate producer that the drill would appear in the movie.
The promotion -- of both tools and the movie in stores nationwide -- was to coincide with the release of "Die Hard 2," but it was canceled because the drill scene wasn't in the film.
Black & Decker also claimed that the company "suffered a loss of credibility" with its customers when it canceled "numerous events and promotions, including movie previews" when it learned, three days before the movie's release, that the drill scene had been cut.