A federal judge has ruled that movie fans can sue over an allegedly misleading trailer, which featured a Golden Globe-nominated actress who ultimately didn’t make the final cut of the movie.
Two viewers sued Universal Pictures when they rented a movie but were disappointed when a scene shown in the trailer failed to make the final cut of the movie. Peter Michael Rosa San Diego f Connor Wolfe Maryland rent every movie 2019 yesterday, for a rental fee of $3.99 on Amazon Prime. Rosa Wolf says they chose the movie because they are Cuban actors Ana de Armas Featured in the trailer.
The film depicts a failed musician who wakes up in a world that completely lacks any memory of the Beatles. Then the protagonist adopts Beatles songs as his own and becomes a worldwide music sensation. In the scene shown in the trailer, the protagonist performs on a talk show while staring into de Armas’ eyes as a Beatles song Something playing in the background. At the conclusion of the short scene, de Armas and the protagonist embrace. The scene contained no dialogue and took up 15 seconds of the trailer’s total running time of three and a half minutes.
However, neither this particular scene, nor any others including de Armas, appear in the final cut of the film. Frustrated fans say the trailer is false advertising and that they would not have chosen to watch it yesterday If they had known de Armas would not have appeared on screen.
Rosza and Woulfe filed a supposed class action lawsuit in federal court in California, seeking more than $5 million in damages for themselves and other disappointed fans.
Universal moved to strike the complaint under California’s anti-SLAPP law, arguing that its trailer is protected by the First Amendment. United States District Judge Stephen Wilsonthe octogenarian hired by an actor-turned-boss Ronald Reaganrefused to dismiss the lawsuit.
Film trailers may be exercises in free speech, Wilson writes in a 32-page ruling, but they may be actionable given their use to “stimulate public interest in a movie.”
Wilson rejected Universal’s primary defense: that the trailer could not constitute any working misrepresentation, since it did not specifically promise that de Armas was in the film.
“Even an implied assertion may be sufficient to deceive a reasonable consumer,” Wilson wrote. The judge also dispensed with the examples provided by Universal in arguing that yesterday The trailer was “too vague” to take action.
Wilson ruled that while he was In fact Disinformation was a “close question”, and the fact that it could certainly have been was not. The judge called it “reasonable” that a viewer had seen the trailer and thought de Armas would appear in the film.
Universal also made the argument that a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs would “open the floodgates” to similar lawsuits every time a viewer incorrectly predicted a movie’s plot after watching the trailer. Wilson again was unconvinced and explained that for the alleged misrepresentation to be actionable, it had to be something that an objective “reasonable consumer” would expect.
“The court’s decision is limited to a representation of whether it is an actress or a scene included in a film, and nothing else,” Wilson explained.
Wilson sided with Universal over the plaintiffs’ false advertising and breach of warranty claims. The case will now continue through the litigation process and will then come before Wilson on April 3, 2023.
Attorneys for both parties did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
[screengrab via YouTube]
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