The major Hollywood studios face a fraud and misleading advertising lawsuit for allegedly providing expenses-paid "press junkets" for film reviewers who then give glowing reviews to movies.
Four filmgoers and Citizens for Truth in Movie Advertising, a self-described nonprofit that represents movie customers, sued in Los Angeles Superior Court seeking class-action status. The group seeks a court order forcing disclosure of any goods or benefits reviewers received, a return of "ill-gotten gains" and unspecified punitive damages.
The group says the studios routinely give some movie reviewers merchandise and free travel to "press junkets," where the reviewers can meet and interview actors or directors for new movies. The studios do not disclose in advertising that they have provided such benefits to the critics, the suit said.
"Had the plaintiffs known the complete true facts, they would not have purchased tickets," they said in the 17-page suit.
The defendants include Sony Corp., Walt Disney Co., Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures, News Corp.'s 20th Century Fox, Vivendi Universal, AOL Time Warner Inc. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.