Fake movie props have been used since the beginning of the film industry to bring character development, circumstance, and atmosphere to movies and TV shows. But when it comes to prop money, there are a lot more rules and regulations that need to be followed compared to other props, like clothing or accessories. One major development in media money props was the filming of Rush Hour 2 and this article is going to delve into the story that changed the movie prop industry forever.
It was late 2000 when Rush Hour 2 was being filmed. And like many action movies, the producers and crew had an awesome scene planned where a casino was going to get blown up. And if you’ve seen the movie, you know this scene was a success and is one of consisted of a big explosion with money flying in the air. But while the scene was great for the film, the consequences were even greater.
The money that was blown up in the casino scene was fake money, but that didn’t stop passersby from picking up the money after the explosion and trying to use it to make purchases at local stores.
The Secret Service, which was form in 1865 to track down money counterfeiters, quickly moved in once they learned of the purchases with fake money. They ended up detaining more than $100 million worth of fake money that looks real during the following few days. And unfortunately, the prop maker, Independent Studio Services (ISS), was blamed. ISS had to stop making their fake movie money and faced serious consequences.
According to Assistant Special Agent Chuck Ortman, “The product they were producing was just too close to genuine. Notes were successfully passed.”
After this event, prop makers became much more careful with the prop money they produce. More laws were put in place to prevent fake money from looking too much like real money. And while counterfeit money is still a very real problem, prop houses are usually not to blame.
So, what lesson can be learned from this event? If you’re buying props, particularly money, for an upcoming film, make sure you’re buying fake movie props that won’t get you in trouble. Choose a reputable vendor and always be aware of the laws you need to follow. This way, you can have a great movie and not worry about facing consequences for your props.