Ana de Armas fans’ ‘Yesterday’ lawsuit spells trouble for studios showing deceptive trailers

Ana de Armas fans’ ‘Yesterday’ lawsuit spells trouble for studios showing deceptive trailers
Ana de Armas fans filed a case against 'Yesterday' in January (Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Netflix)

LOS GATOS, CALIFORNIA: Two Ana de Armas fans, Ptere Michael Rosza, 44, from San Diego Country, California, and another fan named Conor Woulfe, 38, from Howard Country, Maryland, filed a case in January for depicting the actress in the trailer but not in the complete film. 

According to Variety, US District Judge Stephen Wilson issued a ruling in the case on Tuesday, December 20. Universal studios claimed that "a trailer is an artistic, expressive work that tells a three-minute story conveying the theme of the movie, and should thus be considered non-commercial speech." 

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Wilson stated, “Universal is correct that trailers involve some creativity and editorial discretion, but this creativity does not outweigh the commercial nature of a trailer. At its core, a trailer is an advertisement designed to sell a movie by providing consumers with a preview of the movie.” The studio lawyers also stated an example of 'Jurassic Park', which had a trailer comprised entirely of footage that was excluded in the film. 

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It also added, “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." The complaint against Universal reads, "Because consumers were promised a movie with Ana de Armas by the trailer for 'Yesterday' but did not receive a movie with any appearance of Ana de Armas at all, such consumers were not provided with any value for their rental or purchase." 

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Wilson suggested, “The Court’s holding is limited to representations as to whether an actress or scene is in the movie, and nothing else,” the judge wrote, holding that based on the “Yesterday” trailer, it was possible that the audience would expect  Armas to have a significant role in the film. Armas was initially cast in the film as the love interest of the protagonist, played by Himesh Patel where the duo will fall in love in the set of James Corden’s talk show. However, the storyline was altered because audiences did not favor the concept of the protagonist straying from his primary love interest enacted by Lily James. The plaintiffs each paid $3.99 to rent 'Yesterday' on Amazon Prime. However, they are seeking at least $5 million in compensation as representatives of a group of customers.

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'In this case it makes sense'

The Internet had mixed reactions to the ruling and quoted different examples. A user said, " What about Hulk fans who were highly looking forward to Hulk’s presence throughout the biggest Avengers film at the time? Or any avengers fan hoping to see Hulk do what Hulk does? It’s blatant false advertising." Another wrote, "Finally, Kangaroo jack bros we will have our revenge."

A user stated, "Many trailers are cut and released before the film is finished being cut. I’ve worked on many films that have shots from cut sequences in the trailer. But assuming she has a major roll when she’s not really in the trailer, or on any of the marketing materials… ridiculous." A tweet read, "Who randomly just sues over a movie trailer from 3 years ago?."

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A fan wrote, "GREAT NEWS. movie studios shouldn’t be allowed to scam hardworking americans out of their money with false promises." A user claimed, "In this case it makes sense." A user stated, "Though I was in the half majority that liked the film, is Halloween Ends guilty of this?." Another wrote, "This feels like a new version of that time when mcdonalds was sued for its coffee being too hot." A user claimed, "I always love how in lawsuits something that cost ppl like $5 they end up wanting millions for “The plaintiffs… each paid $3.99 to rent “Yesterday” on Amazon Prime. They are seeking at least $5 million as representatives of a class of movie customers.”

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This article contains remarks made on the Internet by individual people and organizations. MEAWW cannot confirm them independently and does not support claims or opinions being made online.

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