Following complaints from viewers that a movie trailer was deceptive, a US judge has decided that they can sue the movie studio Universal for fraudulent advertising.
After renting the 2019 movie Yesterday, two Ana de Armas admirers filed a lawsuit in January.
The two were dismay to learn the actress, who appear in the teaser, had drop the finished product.
Conor Woulfe and Peter Michael Rosza, the claimants, spent $3.99 (£3.31) to rent Yesterday on Amazon Prime.
Stephen Wilson, a US district judge in California, decided that their legal action may proceed.
The movie’s production company, Universal, fought to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming that the First Amendment, which safeguards press freedom and free expression, gives film trailers broad protection.
The legal representatives for the studio contend that a trailer should be regard as “non-commercial” communication since it is an “artistic, expressive work” that tells a three-minute story communicating the film’s concept.
The California False Advertising Law and the state’s Unfair Competition Law apply to trailers, according to the judge, who rejected that defense and declared it commercial speech.
In his ruling, Wilson stated that while “Universal is correct that trailers entail some ingenuity and editorial discretion, this originality does not override the commercial aspect of a trailer.”
A movie trailer is essentially an advertisement made to publicize a movie by providing a sneak preview to viewers.
In their filing, the attorneys for Universal asserted that it is common for movie trailers to have snippets that do not appear in the final product.
They referred to Jurassic Park, another movie from Universal, whose trailer they claimed was made entirely of footage that wasn’t in the actual picture.
Additionally, Universal stated that labeling trailers as “commercial communication” could lead to increased litigation from displeased moviegoers who might assert subjectively that a movie did not live up to the expectations outlined in the trailer.
Wilson respond to this by asserting that only when a “substantial fraction” of “reasonable consumers” could be misled does the rule against misleading advertising apply.
According to the judge, the court’s ruling only applies to situations where a character or scene from the trailer is absent from the final product.
He claimed that audiences might reasonably assume from the Yesterday teaser that de Armas will play a key part in the movie.
It was originally plan for De Armas, a Cuban-Spanish actress who star in Knives Out, to play the love interest for Himesh Patel’s character.
She was suppose to have met Patel’s character while they were filming James Corden’s talk show, and Patel would have serenaded her with the Beatles song Something. The trailer included some of the videos from these scenes.
In the movie Yesterday, a young guy wakes up following a bicycle accident to discover that no one on earth seems to remember The Beatles.
He goes on to become rich and famous by singing the songs himself, but he is force to consider his moral obligations when he is given credit for writing them.
The action brought by Woulfe and Rosza will now move on to discovery and a motion for class certification.