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Tuesday, 3 July, 2001, 14:29 GMT 15:29 UK
Film fans sue over 'misleading' reviews
Cinema fans
The suit was filed by four people and a campaign group
Hollywood studios are being taken to court by film fans who have had enough of biased reviews, according to reports.

The studios, including Warner Bros, 20th Century Fox and MGM, are accused of bribing critics with flights, meals and merchandise to secure positive reviews, Inside.com says.


They were sick and tired of looking at movie ads that say Battlefield Earth was the greatest movie since Star Wars

Anthony Sonnett
Lawyer
Parts of these reviews are then used by the film studios on posters advertising their films.

If the studios lose the case, they will face having to compensate every Californian cinema-goer who is disappointed by a film they decided to go to see on the basis of quotes used on these adverts, who have filed the case.

"They were just sick and tired of looking at movie ads that say Battlefield Earth was the greatest movie since Star Wars, then go and find it is absolutely atrocious," said Anthony Sonnett, lawyer for a group called Citizens for Truth in Movie Advertising.

He said studios used "press junkets" to butter up film critics and broke the law by not revealing that quotes were the result of such arrangements.

'Own set of rules'

It was "just a thing that gets a wink and a smile", he said.

"Why is that Hollywood seems to run by its own set of rules and decide that it can basically pay for positive reviews and then print them for the public as honest reviews?

"Certainly, they are capable of putting out movies without engaging in this kind of behaviour."

The case comes after Sony revealed they invented a reviewer and put his quotes on posters, and used employees from their marketing department to pose as fans in a TV advert.

Studios

The lawsuit was filed at Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday, 29 June.

Other studios and their subsidiaries named include Sony, Lions Gate Films, DreamWorks, Vivendi Universal, Artisan Entertainment and Viacom.

The California Civil Code and the Federal Trade Commission set down laws saying advertisements should be truthful.

To comply with these laws, studios must either not give anything to the reviewers, or disclose what was given in the advertisements, the lawsuits say.

See also:

20 Jun 01 | Film
'Fake fan' for Waking Ned
18 Jun 01 | Film
Sony admits fake fans on ad
07 Jun 01 | Film
Inquiry into fake film critic
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