After a couple years of legal wrangling, Sony will have to eat a settlement in the lawsuit charging that it used fabricated taglines praising its (terrible) movies from reviews that were never written. From an article (Sony pays $1.5m over fake critic, August 3) for BBC News:
A judge has finalised a settlement in which film studio Sony will pay $1.5m (£850,000) to film fans after using a fake critic to praise its movies. In 2001, ads for films including Hollow Man and A Knight's Tale quoted praise from a reviewer called David Manning, who was exposed as being invented. People who saw the films can now get a $5 (£2.80) refund from Sony's pay-out, lawyer Norman Blumenthal said.Can I get my refund without having held on to the ticket stub for four years? This clearly happened before blogging became big, because now David Manning has surfaced with his own Web site and is continuing to review Hollywood dreck in his inimitable hyperbolic style. However, movie studios would do much better to go to the IMDB User Comment section for any of their films and find honest people who apparently LOVE to watch movies like Hollow Man ("Top notch Sci-Fi. . . . Kudos to director Paul Verhoeven") and A Knight's Tale ("This film is ridiculously unbelievable, thin on plot, shamefully predictable, historically inaccurate in so many ways...yet it all works!"). Those are actual people's comments, by the way. If we could sue movie studios for our ticket money when they make terrible movies, I would be all for it. However, I can assure you that any studio can find someone to heap praise on the worst thing that they put on the market. Shame on the lazy executive who thought he had to invent a critic.