Studios can be sued over misleading movie trailers, judge rules in Ana de Armas fan suit

American Age Official

A lawsuit filed by a pair of disgruntled Ana de Armas fans over the 2019 rom-com Yesterday could have far-reaching ramifications for movie studios.

On Tuesday a judge in California allowed parts of a lawsuit accusing Universal of false advertising to proceed, ruling that a movie trailer “constitutes commercial speech” and is not entitled to broad protection under the First Amendment.

The case began in January, when Paul Michael Rosza and Conor Woulfe sued Universal claiming that they rented Yesterday with the expectation that de Armas would be in it because she appeared in a trailer, leading to their dismay upon realizing she had been cut from the film.

Lawyers for Universal tried to get the case tossed, arguing that a trailer is an “artistic, expressive work” and therefore eligible for First Amendment protections.

Ana de Armas in a trailer for 'Yesterday'Ana de Armas in a trailer for 'Yesterday'

Ana de Armas in a trailer for ‘Yesterday’

Universal Ana de Armas in a trailer for ‘Yesterday’

But according to a ruling from U.S. District Judge Steven Wilson, obtained by Deadline Hollywood, “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.”

Wilson did stipulate that “the Court’s holding is limited to representations as to whether an actress or scene is in the movie, and nothing else.”

The case will now move to discovery and potential class certification. EW has reached out to Universal spokespersons for comment on the ruling.

Yesterday, directed by Danny Boyle and written by Richard Curtis, stars Himesh Patel as struggling musician Jack Malik, who wakes up one day after an accident in a world that has mysteriously never heard of the Beatles. He receives worldwide recognition after introducing the band’s music and passing it off as his own.

Lily James costars as Ellie, Jack’s love interest, while Curtis described de Armas’ excised character as “a complicating factor” to that relationship in an interview with CinemaBlend.

“That was a very traumatic cut, because she was brilliant in it. I mean really radiant,” Curtis told the outlet. “And [that] turned out to be the problem… I think the audience likes the story [about Ellie and Jack] and goes with that, and it works out well. What we’d originally done was had, I don’t want to describe it too much, but had Ana de Armas as a complicating factor when he arrived in L.A. for the first time. And I think the audience did not like the fact that his eyes even strayed. Because then some people would go, ‘Oh, he really doesn’t deserve her. He really doesn’t deserve Lily.’ You know, it’s one of those things where it’s some of our favorite scenes from the film, but we had to cut them for the sake of the whole.”

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