Movie Fans Can Sue Studios For Advertising Misleading Trailers

False advertising law now applies to deceptive movie trailers.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson ruled movie studios can be sued under these circumstances. The case involves the 2019 film "Yesterday," about a world without the Beatles.

Two fans of actress Ana de Armas (“Blonde,” “No Time To Die”) rented the movie in January because they saw her in the trailer. The catch? She isn’t in the actual film.

Universal Studios tried to have the case dismissed, but the judge rejected the claim.

Variety first reported the news.

Universal argued that movie trailers are protected under the First Amendment, since a trailer is an “artistic, expressive work” that tells a three-minute story. The studio called this “non-commercial” speech.

“Universal is correct that trailers involve some creativity and editorial discretion, but this creativity does not outweigh the commercial nature of a trailer,” Wilson wrote. “At its core, a trailer is an advertisement designed to sell a movie by providing consumers with a preview of the movie.”



Wilson ruled movie trailers are commercial speech and subject to the California False Advertising Law.

The plaintiffs, Conor Woulfe of Maryland and Peter Michael Rosza of San Diego County, Calif., each paid $3.99 to rent “Yesterday” on Prime Video. They asked for least $5 million as representatives of a class of movie customers.

The case will now proceed to discovery and a motion for class certification.

1 comment about "Movie Fans Can Sue Studios For Advertising Misleading Trailers".
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  1. Steven Piluso from Pro.Vocation LLC, December 29, 2022 at 10:02 a.m.

    I remember going to see "Sideways" because the trailer made it seem like an upbeat comedy.  And man did that movie get dark pretty quickly.  

    Another example that comes to mind was the movie Avatar which was marketed as an interesting movie with an original plot and it was utterly unoriginal ("unobtanium" as a rare mineral???), the story was basically an adaptation of Dances with Wolves or The Last Samurai...ok we get it...the main character went "native" and did a 180 on those who sent him here. The effects were cool.  I wanted my money back for that lengty pile insultingly obvious drivel.  

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