Ever wonder about effusive critical praise of a movie in an ad that inspires you to go see it? Suppose a critic declared an actor "this year's hottest new star," a movie "one hell of a scary ride," and a second movie "another winner"? You go see all three movies, and they turn out to be real dogs. What can you do? Well, a court in Los Angeles has ruled that you have been personally injured, and are entitled to a refund of $5, the price of your movie ticket (yeah, right). That is, if the critic who is quoted in the movie advertising never made the statements, doesn't work for the media outfit mentioned in the ads, and indeed, the critic doesn't even exist.
That's right. David Manning of The Ridgefield Press, a small paper in Connecticut, doesn't exist, though he was quoted in at least three movie ads offering high praise to actor Heath Ledger, and to the 2001 films, "The Hollow Man" and "A Knight's Tale."
Sony Pictures has agreed to refund moviegoers $5 as part of a settlement of a class-action lawsuit, the Associated Press reports. Sony must set aside $1.5 million for movie fans who ask for a refund. If not enough fans seek a refund, the money will go to charity. The settlement was approved Tuesday by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Carolyn Kuhl. Class action lawyer Norman Blumenthal filed the case, and Giraldi and Co. is handling the list of "injured" parties.
The ficticious Manning was created by movie marketers eager for some positive buzz about movies and acting performances that real critics weren't too impressed with. Sony says it fired the marketers who made the "mistake."