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- A federal judge rejected Universal Studios’ motion to dismiss a lawsuit claiming it misled fans.
- Movie fans filed a class action suit in January claiming they were tricked into watching the film.
- They sued Universal because actress Ana de Armas was in the trailer, but didn’t appear in the movie.
Movie fans will be able to sue studios under false advertising laws if they release misleading trailers for forthcoming releases, a federal judge ruled this week.
The news was first reported by Variety.
The trailer for Danny Boyle’s 2019 feature “Yesterday” may be considered as false advertising because it included actress Ana de Armas, who did not actually appear in the film, according to a court filing on Tuesday.
A California district court judge, Stephen V. Wilson, is letting a class action suit filed earlier this year proceed after Universal Studios asked for it be dismissed. Universal argued that it would “open the floodgates” to others who felt they had been misled by trailers.
Judge Wilson rejected Universal’s argument and ruled that the trailers were subject to advertising laws: “At its core, a trailer is an advertisement designed to sell a movie by providing consumers with a preview of the movie.”
Two Ana de Armas fans brought the lawsuit against Universal in January after they paid $3.99 to rent the rom-com online to find that the “No Time to Die” actress didn’t appear in the film. At least $5m is being claimed on behalf of the fans in the lawsuit.
The fans, Peter Michael Rosza and Conor Woulfe, argued that they were tricked into watching “Yesterday” after they saw Armas in the trailer. The complaint said Universal was “unable to rely on fame of the actors playing Jack Malik or Ellie to maximize ticket and movie sales and rentals,” and therefore “used Ms. De Armas’s fame, radiance and brilliance to promote the film by including her scenes in the movie trailers.”
Judge Wilson said that the moviegoers were not given “any value for their rental or purchase”, per the filing, and lawyers will meet again for the case in April.
Universal did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.