Rush recreated a 1970s Formula One racing rivalry. At the time of the film project's development, Rush was also the name of a Philip Morris Int'l promotion designed to remind fans in Eastern Europe and East Asia of Marlboro's long-time F1 sponsorship.
Both Philip Morris USA (Altria) and Philip Morris Int'l denied they engaged in product placement in this film. (Imperial Tobacco's John Players logo is also shown.) F1 driver James Hunt, a smoker in real life, died of a heart attack at age 45. Reportedly, he favored another brand over Marlboro. Producers of the film Rush likely received public subsidies in both the United Kingdom and Germany.