I don't talk about the news much, mostly because I never care to read it. However, once in a while, something catches my eye and I look into it. Recently, it was this article.
If you're too lazy to read the article or, like me, are afraid of clicking links on websites in this day and age, it's a story about two morons suing Universal because some chick I've never even heard of isn't in some movie I don't care about. They rented the movie for $3.99 and are now asking for $5 million dollars. This feels like an episode of Clerks.
At least Randal was humble enough to only request the money he spent on the movie. The problem I have with this is the same that is argued by Universal themselves:
Universal also argued that classifying trailers as "commercial speech" could open the door to many more lawsuits from dissatisfied filmgoers, who could make a subjective claim that a film did not live up to the expectations created by the trailer.
I know that the vast majority of people reading this post don't understand how dangerous this can of worms they are opening is. To me, this is along the lines of implementing hate speech laws. Who dictates what is considered false advertising within trailers? Is a teaser trailer considered false advertising?
Consider these trailers for Lord of the Rings and Jurassic Park, both containing footage not in the finished film. The problem is that majority of people do not know how trailers work. There is a person who is given the footage and sorts through it and has to craft a trailer from it. Sometimes there is no footage at all to work with and they are forced to create something original (such is the case with Jurassic Park).
I will not deny that I myself use cut footage or alternative takes all the time in trailers. In the trailers for both Keeping Justice and Silver Stars on Red Velvet, I used outtakes to list the actors. In the trailer for A Final Hit, there is a clip of Michael Lakota Dillon being attacked by a thug in his backseat. I used a take that started off more convincing but was ruined because MLD burned his hand with his cigarette. If I admit these things, am I now open to being sued for "false adverstising"? Should Paramount be sued for including a better take of "part time" in their Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull trailer?
I could go all day listing trailers that have cut or alternative footage. This is all to illustrate a point. If we start doing this, where does it end? Are production companies going to be forced to show audiences the entire film in three minutes to advertise if people want to watch it?
The only thing that would justify this as false advertising would be if they put Ana de Armas in the trailer's cast list and put her on the posters. I sat through five different trailers and they only listed Lily James and Introducing Himish Patel. I looked through the posters and didn't see her listed on them either.
I really hate this and hope Universal wins this case. Then again, California's legal system is run by chimpanzees.