Universal Settles Lawsuit Claiming Studio Duped Ana de Armas Fans Into Watching ‘Yesterday’

A lawsuit between Universal and two men who rented Yesterday and accused the studio of tricking fans into watching the film by featuring Ana de Armas in trailers when she didn’t actually appear in the movie has settled.

Attorneys for both sides on Friday informed the court of a settlement to resolve the case. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

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The lawsuit, filed in 2022, revolved around accusations from Peter Michael Rosza and Conor Woulfe that they watched the trailer for Yesterday and thought that de Armas played a substantial role in the romantic comedy about an artist who rockets to fame after discovering that he’s the only person in the world to remember The Beatles, which allows him to pass their songs off as his own. But upon renting it, they learned that she doesn’t appear in the movie. They brought claims for false advertisement, unjust enrichment and unfair competition.

“Unable to rely on fame of the actors playing Jack Malik or Ellie to maximize ticket and movie sales and rentals, Defendant consequently used Ms. De Armas’s fame, radiance and brilliance to promote the film by including her scenes in the movie trailers advertising Yesterday,” the lawsuit stated.

Friday’s settlement follows a series of setbacks for the plaintiffs. Last year, the court dismissed most claims in the lawsuit and denied class certification. U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson found that Rosza and Woulfe didn’t rely on alleged misrepresentations from Universal when they made the decision to watch the film, concluding that their injuries were “self-inflicted.”

And since Universal obtained dismissal under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, the studio moved to recover legal fees. Lead defense attorney Kelly Klaus asked for $472,000, but the judge reduced it to roughly $126,000.

Universal also filed a motion for sanctions, arguing that plaintiffs’ attorneys frivolously “served a barrage of duplicative discovery” after the court had already ruled that it’s “unreasonably cumulative.” Additionally, it claimed that Matthew Pequignot, a lawyer who used to represent Rosza and Woulfe, improperly threatened the studio with a lawsuit for pursuing legal fees.

Since class certification was denied, the most plaintiffs could recover in the case was an estimated $8, or the amount they paid to rent the film. In exchange for dropping the lawsuit, Universal could’ve offered to forgo attorneys fees in the settlement.

De Armas was initially cast to appear as a love interest, but her scenes were cut in the final version of the film. The trailer prominently displays her on the set of James Corden’s talk show.

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