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Judge: Movie fans can sue over misleading trailer

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Judge: Movie fans can sue over misleading trailer

Old 12-24-22, 09:27 AM
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Judge: Movie fans can sue over misleading trailer

Interesting case. Basically, early trailers for the 2019 film "Yesterday" featured Ana de Armas, but her role was later cut from the film. Two people that rented the film on Amazon Prime sued when they discovered she was not in it:

https://www.rawstory.com/movie-fans-...says-us-judge/

Movie fans can sue over misleading trailer, says US judge

Movie fans disappointed that their favorite actor was cut from a film after appearing in the trailer can sue the studio for false advertising, a US judge has ruled.

Two film buffs say Universal Pictures tricked them into renting 2019 flick "Yesterday" because the trailer featured actress Ana de Armas.

Peter Michael Rosza, 45, of San Diego, and Conor Woulfe, 39, of Maryland, say they forked over $3.99 each to watch the Richard Curtis comedy on Amazon Prime, only to discover that de Armas had not made the final cut.

A class action suit filed earlier this year alleges fans had been led to expect the Cuban "No Time To Die" star would feature prominently.


However, they "did not receive a movie with any appearance of Ana de Armas at all," says the suit, reported by US media on Friday.

Accordingly, "such consumers were not provided with any value for their rental or purchase," the suit added.

Universal had asked US District Judge Stephen Wilson to throw out the complaint, arguing that trailers are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution, which guarantees free speech.

But in his ruling on Thursday, Wilson rejected the studio's argument, saying trailers are commercial speech and subject to laws around honest advertising.

"At its core, a trailer is an advertisement designed to sell a movie by providing consumers with a preview of the movie," the judge wrote.


AFP could not immediately reach a representative for Universal.

The suit is claiming at least $5 million on behalf of disappointed fans.

Lawyers will convene again for the case on April 3.

Danny Boyle's "Yesterday" tells the story of a musician, played by Himesh Patel, who is thrust into an alternative reality where The Beatles do not exist.

He achieves global megastardom by releasing the Fab Four's back catalogue as his own.

De Armas, 34, who also appeared in "Knives Out" in 2019, was originally cast in the movie, and appeared in the trailer and certain advertising, but her role did not make the final version, according to the suit.
Seems like a silly thing to sue over, but when I see that Universal had the unmitigated gall to claim that a movie trailer is "free speech" and not an advertisement, I am glad they are suing. I am curious about the timing, however. How was it that a trailer featuring de Armas was still even around when the movie was already available on Prime. Was this a pandemic-timing thing?
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Old 12-24-22, 09:36 AM
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Re: Judge: Movie fans can sue over misleading trailer

Pure stupidity... they *should* be suing because that movie isn't at all about the primary push in the trailers I saw - a kind of alternate universe film where one guy rises to fame because he's the only one who remembers The Beatles and their songs. It's actually a rather lame rom/com with those trappings tossed on top, and rarely used to truly good effect, to fool you into thinking you're going to get a decent alternate universe film. I paid $5 to blind purchase a copy on BR based on the trailers - I want my money back!

Better yet - I need 1 million for the emotional distress of suffering though yet another predictable half baked rom/com!
Old 12-24-22, 09:55 AM
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Re: Judge: Movie fans can sue over misleading trailer

I read about this story the other day and thought I should post it here. Just never got around to it.

Iím kind of an odd duck when it comes to movie trailers. I love them. I love watching them but I really donít put much stock in them as to whether Iím going to see the movie or not. Most of the time Iíve made up my mind about whether or not Iím going to see the movie based on the director, premise, actors. The trailer isnít much of a deciding factor.

I actually like Yesterday and recall seeing the trailer for it but donít remember Ana de Armas in it at all. Iíll have to track it down an rewatch it.


I wonder how this is going to affect the trailer making process. I always assumed that they were provided footage early on in the production process and cut the trailer based on the unfinished film. Actors, scenes, and subplots could be cut from the final film after the trailer has already been created. I wonder if this is going to either lead to very vague trailers or trailers released a lot later (closer to the filmís release) than ever before.
Old 12-24-22, 10:34 AM
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Re: Judge: Movie fans can sue over misleading trailer

I don't remember Ana De Armas in the trailer at all. Good flick, though.

EDIT: Just watched the trailer on Prime. She appears 2+ minutes in the trailer for a split second. It's A side shot on a TV, long shot to boot. You can't spot her unless actively looking for her. Unless there's another trailer that the plaintiffs watched, this suit is frivolous.

EDIT #2: Found an alternate trailer with more footage of De Armas. Still not enough to justify the suit, since it comes across as a cameo, rather than a major plot change.



EDIT #3: Here's the actual deleted scene.


Last edited by RocShemp; 12-24-22 at 11:00 AM.
Old 12-24-22, 11:05 AM
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Re: Judge: Movie fans can sue over misleading trailer

I can't argue with the ruling, but think some litigants have way too much time on their hands, some attorneys are looking for publicity in all the wrong places, and we're living in the stupidest timeline.
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Old 12-24-22, 11:34 AM
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Re: Judge: Movie fans can sue over misleading trailer

So, if I went to the theater to see Yesterday, and complained at the time that I was mislead into buying the ticket by false advertising in the trailer, what would I expect from the theater as compensation on the spot?

A refund of the price of my ticket? They would likely give you some free passes, not a refund.
That, plus a refund for any concessions? Now, you have to argue.
Some damages to compensate for my ruined evening? No fucking way.

If I read the story correctly, all this means is that the defense (it's not advertising) was denied. This is a big step away from proving that there are are hundreds of thousands of "disappointed fans" who watched this movie primarily because Ana De Armas was in it.

I remember seeing this movie. And I think the fake out that he is going to be confronted by John and Paul on TV was a much bigger deception.


Maybe this ruling will make trailers include a flashed disclaimer in legalese that the final cut could differ from what is presented in the trailer.
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Old 12-24-22, 12:16 PM
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Re: Judge: Movie fans can sue over misleading trailer

Originally Posted by Count Dooku
Maybe this ruling will make trailers include a flashed disclaimer in legalese that the final cut could differ from what is presented in the trailer.
I think you're right on the money here.
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Old 12-24-22, 12:32 PM
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Re: Judge: Movie fans can sue over misleading trailer

Originally Posted by GoldenJCJ
I read about this story the other day and thought I should post it here. Just never got around to it.

Iím kind of an odd duck when it comes to movie trailers. I love them. I love watching them but I really donít put much stock in them as to whether Iím going to see the movie or not. Most of the time Iíve made up my mind about whether or not Iím going to see the movie based on the director, premise, actors. The trailer isnít much of a deciding factor.

I actually like Yesterday and recall seeing the trailer for it but donít remember Ana de Armas in it at all. Iíll have to track it down an rewatch it.


I wonder how this is going to affect the trailer making process. I always assumed that they were provided footage early on in the production process and cut the trailer based on the unfinished film. Actors, scenes, and subplots could be cut from the final film after the trailer has already been created. I wonder if this is going to either lead to very vague trailers or trailers released a lot later (closer to the filmís release) than ever before.
Exactly - trailers have *always* been somewhat "misleading" in that they're often composed of scenes that just don't make the final cut for one reason or another. It's never bothered me at all... I only use them for a movie if I'm somewhat on-the-fence about seeing it - like I was with Yesterday. I don't know who Ana de Armas is so her presence in the trailer had no impact on my decision. Had to look her up - seems that she was in Blade Runner 2049, the only movie she's done that I've seen, but I don't remember her at all...
Old 12-24-22, 01:24 PM
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Re: Judge: Movie fans can sue over misleading trailer

Originally Posted by Count Dooku
Maybe this ruling will make trailers include a flashed disclaimer in legalese that the final cut could differ from what is presented in the trailer.
So kinda like video game trailers?
Old 12-24-22, 01:25 PM
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Re: Judge: Movie fans can sue over misleading trailer

Originally Posted by RocShemp

EDIT #3: Here's the actual deleted scene.

I think I can see why they deleted that scene. Unless there is more to the plot with movie star Roxanne to show him ignoring Lily James and her being jealous, it doesn't add to the movie. They already established that he takes credit for making up the songs on the fly in the scene with Ed Sheeran. Plus, now there would be him actually appearing on James Corden and then dreaming about appearing on James Corden. And it would have been way more effective if they had gotten a movie star to play herself as Corden's guest, instead of a pretty much unknown actress playing a fictional movie star.
Old 12-24-22, 01:26 PM
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Re: Judge: Movie fans can sue over misleading trailer

Originally Posted by RocShemp
So kinda like video game trailers?
I have no idea what is in video game trailers, so maybe?
Old 12-24-22, 01:45 PM
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Re: Judge: Movie fans can sue over misleading trailer

Originally Posted by Count Dooku
I have no idea what is in video game trailers, so maybe?
There's usually some variant of a disclaimer that says the footage doesn't represent the final product. It could precede the trailer of be baked into the image (usually on the bottom right corner) of the entire trailer.

Here's a good explanation: https://www.tiktok.com/@derek_lieu/v...37207673785646
Old 12-24-22, 02:31 PM
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Re: Judge: Movie fans can sue over misleading trailer

Originally Posted by Kurt D
I can't argue with the ruling, but think some litigants have way too much time on their hands, some attorneys are looking for publicity in all the wrong places, and we're living in the stupidest timeline.
To be fair, I think there SHOULD be a law that says Ana de Armas must appear in every movie!
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Old 12-24-22, 03:22 PM
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Re: Judge: Movie fans can sue over misleading trailer

Was there ever an early trailer for that movie where they cut out Kevin Spacey and replaced him with Chris Plummer? I'm feeling litigious!
Old 12-24-22, 04:18 PM
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Re: Judge: Movie fans can sue over misleading trailer

Holy shit.
Old 12-25-22, 12:56 PM
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Re: Judge: Movie fans can sue over misleading trailer

Defense can enter this thread into evidence that what's in a trailer may not make it to the final movie.

https://forum.dvdtalk.com/movie-talk...-trailers.html
Old 12-25-22, 01:11 PM
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Re: Judge: Movie fans can sue over misleading trailer

I remember going to the premiere of Yesterday at Tribeca and wondering why de Armas wasn't in the film.
Old 12-25-22, 01:36 PM
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Re: Judge: Movie fans can sue over misleading trailer

Can we sue over misleading movie posters?
Old 12-25-22, 02:20 PM
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Re: Judge: Movie fans can sue over misleading trailer

Hopefully this doesnít make trailers even more spoiler heavy than a lot of them already are. I understand the premise behind the case and there are definitely some deceptive trailers but itís still kind of weird.
Old 12-25-22, 02:44 PM
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Re: Judge: Movie fans can sue over misleading trailer

Originally Posted by dex14
I remember going to the premiere of Yesterday at Tribeca and wondering why de Armas wasn't in the film.
Did you phone your attorney directly from the theater lobby or wait until you got home?
Old 12-25-22, 03:45 PM
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Re: Judge: Movie fans can sue over misleading trailer

Originally Posted by Count Dooku
Did you phone your attorney directly from the theater lobby or wait until you got home?
So what's the statute of limitations for something like this? Can people still sue over, say, the trailer for Highlander: Endgame?

Old 12-25-22, 04:17 PM
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Re: Judge: Movie fans can sue over misleading trailer

I am going to sue over The Last Jedi, I went in expecting a Star Wars movie and didn't get one.
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Old 12-26-22, 09:16 AM
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Re: Judge: Movie fans can sue over misleading trailer

Originally Posted by RocShemp
So kinda like video game trailers?
Video game trailers really irritate me, especially the ones in the PS store. The trailer, screenshots, and description rarely tell me much of anything about the game. Just a generic bunch of buzzwords, and then a video of cut scenes. If I have another device to look up the game nearby, I might use it, but most of the time I just move on to find something else.
Old 12-26-22, 01:41 PM
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Re: Judge: Movie fans can sue over misleading trailer

Originally Posted by mndtrp
Video game trailers really irritate me, especially the ones in the PS store. The trailer, screenshots, and description rarely tell me much of anything about the game. Just a generic bunch of buzzwords, and then a video of cut scenes. If I have another device to look up the game nearby, I might use it, but most of the time I just move on to find something else.
I only get annoyed with pre-rendered trailers. I prefer gameplay footage with some cut scenes (as long as they are in-game generated, though some games like Uncharted cheat by using prerecorded cut scenes using higher polygon models) sprinkled throughout, to get an overall gist of the game.

But my point was how game trailers these days warn they might not reflect the final product. Perhaps movie teasers and some movie trailers will do that now.

Last edited by RocShemp; 12-26-22 at 04:54 PM.
Old 12-26-22, 04:38 PM
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Re: Judge: Movie fans can sue over misleading trailer

Does this mean we won't see any more serious dramas advertised as light comedies?

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