Are Ana de Armas Fans About To DESTROY The Movie Trailer Business?!
We knew Ana de Armas fans were serious, but WOW.
Back in January a couple big fans of the Knives Out star filed what seemed like a bonkers lawsuit. Basically they complained that they rented the movie Yesterday — you know, the one about the only guy who remembers The Beatles — specifically because they saw her in the trailer.
She’s barely in there, but she’s there. Apparently she was in an early cut of the movie, but her scenes got removed because test audiences didn’t want the lead to have another potential love interest besides Lily James.
The important part here is that these fans were so annoyed they watched this movie for nuthin’ — meaning with no sightings of Ana — they sued Universal Pictures!
Universal tried to get the wild action thrown out, arguing trailers are basically short films crafted to give audiences a feel for a movie. Plenty use footage that isn’t in the film itself. They cited Jurassic Park as a famous example of a trailer that used footage that wasn’t in the movie. It’s pretty common. They argued since it’s “artistic” expression, it should be classified as “non-commercial” work — and protected under the First Amendment.
Related: Remember When The Harry & Meghan Upset People With Its Fake Footage?
OK, so here’s the wild part… this federal judge agreed with the fans!
US District Judge Stephen Wilson ruled on Wednesday that trailers ARE commercial speech — and therefore subject to the California False Advertising Law. He declared:
“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.”
We mean… he’s not wrong. But what does this mean for trailers in the future?
They’ve never been held to false advertising standards before. Would Jurassic Park be liable? How about Avengers: Infinity War, which famously showed scene of a huge teamup of all the Avengers that never happened (see above, inset)? Marvel Studios are particularly secretive and show fake things all the time. Universal’s legal team said this precedent would be dangerous to all future trailers:
“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.”
Ooh, that’s a tough one. While the judge noted false advertising laws only apply when a “significant portion” of “reasonable consumers” could be fooled, that’s a question that would be answered in court. What’s stopping the lawsuits from coming, whether they’re successful or not? Hmm…
In this case, Judge Wilson’s ruling says it was reasonable to assume Ana de Armas was in the movie. But how many other trailers would this apply to? Scenes get cut all the time!
What do YOU think, Perezcious paralegals?? Are the Ana Army right? Should trailers be stuck showing only what — and whom — is really in the movie??
[Image via MEGA/WENN/Marvel/YouTube.]