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You can sue movie studios for misleading trailers

You can sue movie studios for misleading trailers

You can sue movie studios for misleading trailers

You can sue movie studios for misleading trailers

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  • A judge has ruled that a movie studio can be held liable for false advertising.
  • If they release misleading trailers.
  • Universal tried to argue that trailers are protected by the First Amendment.
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U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson, decided this week that a movie studios can be held liable for false advertising if it releases misleading trailers.

We’ve all been there before. We visit a theatre to view one of the most eagerly awaited films of the year, typically the upcoming blockbuster superhero film. We’re left wondering what happened to the specific scene or shot from the teaser that drew us to the theatre after the credits have finished rolling.

The issue in question was the underappreciated ‘Yesterday’ by Danny Boyle from 2019. The intriguing premise of this musical adventure was that the lead character, played by Himesh Patel, made money off the fact that everyone had forgotten about the legendary band The Beatles.

Ana de Armas would have a role in the movie, as seen by the trailers that were released prior to the movie’s release. A fan of the now-famous actress, however, would have been let down by her utter absence from Yesterday.

Due to this, two de Armas supporters sued in January, alleging they had rented the movie after viewing Yesterday’s trailer and learning that she had been left out of the finished picture.

As they continued to contend that trailers were protected by the First Amendment, Universal sought to have the lawsuit dismissed. They also assert that trailers should be viewed as a three-minute tale rather than a straight advertisement because they are “artistic, expressive works.”

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The California False Advertising and Unfair Competition Laws apply to commercial communication, according to Judge Wilson, who rejected that argument. In particular, Wilson stated that while Universal is right that trailers require some originality and editorial judgement, this creativity does not outweigh a trailer’s commercial nature. A movie trailer is fundamentally an advertisement created to promote a film by giving viewers a sneak peek.

Utilizing snippets from previous trailers from their picture archive that weren’t used, Universal attempted to respond to it. Jurassic Park was their best example, but it didn’t influence public opinion in their favor.

Additionally, the studio warned that “commercial speech” would be a slippery slope for other disgruntled moviegoers who would suit just because the movie didn’t live up to their hopes and excitement for the trailer. In particular, Universal’s attorney stated:

“Under Plaintiffs’ reasoning, a trailer would be stripped of full First Amendment protection and subject to burdensome litigation anytime a viewer claimed to be disappointed with whether and how much of any person or scene they saw in the trailer was in the final film; with whether the movie fit into the kind of genre they claimed to expect; or any of an unlimited number of disappointments a viewer could claim.”

Wilson addressed the issue, claiming that deceptive advertising would only apply when “major chunks” of a trailer are left out of the final product.

Therefore, events like the Avengers: Infinity War closing shot being omitted from that movie wouldn’t count. The Court’s holding is restricted to statements about whether an actress or scene is in the movie, and nothing more, Wilson said, adding that they would only be paying attention to “reasonable consumers.”

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Before de Armas would become as a great celebrity, she was once more completely eliminated from Yesterday. She was supposed to be Patel’s character’s secondary love interest, but screenwriter Richard Curtis claimed the actress was dropped because viewers didn’t like the concept of detracting attention from Lily James’ Lily as the primary love interest.

The two de Armas enthusiasts, who spent $3.99 to rent the movie, are now suing for $5 million on behalf of a group of moviegoers. The case will now move on to discovery and a motion for class certification as a result of the decision.

Currently, if you have a strong case, you can file a lawsuit against studios for deceptive advertising. Given this change, it will be interesting to see how this case develops.

Additionally, this decision may alter how movie studios manage their future marketing and trailers. Most significant studios outsource their trailer production.

The companies that put these trailers together frequently have no idea what will end up on the scrap heap. The Yesterday situation in particular is intriguing because the movie was released before de Armas rose to prominence.

Before Yesterday, she only worked on one significant movie, Blade Runner 2049. She is now undoubtedly one of Hollywood’s hottest movie stars thanks to Blonde, Deep Water, Knives Out, and The Gray Man.

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‘Yesterday’ trailer below:

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