Ana De Armas appeared in the trailer for the 2019 film Yesterday, but she isn’t in the movie.
Fans who claim they only paid to rent the movie through Amazon because of her appearance in the trailer are suing Universal for false advertising.
The lawsuit is a proposed class action on behalf of everyone in California and Maryland who paid to see the movie.
The plaintiffs allege that “consumers were promised a movie with Ana De Armas by the trailer” but didn’t receive such a movie, so they “were not provided with any value for their rental or purchase.”
They claim that Universal couldn’t rely on the fame of the actors who actually appear in the movie to promote sales, so they used De Armas despite cutting her from the cast.
This case reminds me of the class action against Sega over the trailers for the videogame Aliens: Colonial Marines.
In that case, the plaintiffs claimed the promo videos for the game showed gameplay elements that weren’t included in the game itself.
Sega settled that case for $1.25M.
It will be interesting to see how Universal handles this one.
In the meantime, this is a good reminder to ensure that your ads don’t include claims about your products or services that might mislead some consumers as to the qualities and features of their purchases.
False advertising litigation more generally is common and expensive to deal with, even if you’re ultimately right.
Limiting risk early, where you can, will save time and money down the road.