Ana de Armas Fans Win Lawsuit Over ‘Yesterday’ Trailer

Entertainment

Ana de Armas in a cut scene from Yesterday

Hello, it’s me, your resident hater of the movie Yesterday. I’ll never get over how good that movie could have been if they hadn’t just decided to make it way too complicated for no reason. I’m here to report that this movie continues to bring drama because the wild court case over Ana de Armas not being in the movie after being in the trailer has come to a conclusion and the results are … well, a bit scary!

So in a shocking twist, Judge Stephen Wilson agreed with the two fans of de Armas that the movie was falsely advertising her role because she wasn’t in the film. The case started when two fans rented the 2019 Danny Boyle film and realized while watching it that Ana de Armas was not in it, despite being featured in the trailer. The trailer featured a scene where Jack (Himesh Patel) is a guest on James Corden’s late-night show. De Armas plays another guest named Roxanne, who is clearly falling for Jack as he’s “writing a brand new song on the spot” and just plays “Something” by the Beatles.

But that is not actually in the movie. Actually, this scene in the movie is a dream, if I remember correctly or if there is actually a James Corden scene, Ana de Armas is not in it. And fans apparently thought that was a suable offense.

The case went back and forth with Universal trying to get it thrown out, arguing that a trailer should be considered non-commercial speech. But Wilson didn’t agree, writing, “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.”

Universal cited past examples of studios making up fake trailers for movies to get people into the theaters—mainly that Jurassic Park didn’t use footage used in the movie for its trailer—but it wasn’t enough for Wilson. He eventually sided with the two fans who both paid $3.99 to rent the movie and were looking for a $5 million payout.

What does this mean?

So with this case specifically, Wilson pointed out that it worked on the side of the two Ana de Armas fans because the trailer made it seem as if de Armas would play a big role in the film—which was originally the case. But when test audiences saw the movie, they didn’t like that Patel’s character was straying from his love interest played by Lily James and the studio decided to cut that storyline.

If only they took feedback and made it so it wasn’t the most convoluted way of having one guy be the sole savior of the music of the Beatles! (My anger comes from Yesterday‘s wasted potential and unnecessary over-complications. That and tricking me into being happy that John Lennon is fine when John Lennon wasn’t a great guy!)

What this boils down to is that the trailer did sell de Armas as a character and as an actor with some box office pull, and then the film not deliver on that. So any moviegoers who went because de Armas was advertised in what looked like a significant role would be justified in their anger.

Is this a scary ruling?

Yes and no. Yes because if someone gets angry about a trailer vs. a movie now, people are going to think they can sue and win. (And if that was the case, The Greatest Showman would have me coming for them.)

But this does make it so that trailers have to be aware of what they’re selling. It sets a difficult precedent for an industry where a film’s final cut might not be anywhere near finished when trailers start getting cut and released but I guess if you’re not 100% sure if a character is going to be included in the final film, maybe don’t include them in the trailer because otherwise the Ana de Armas army will rise and protect us all from false advertising.

(image: Universal Pictures)

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