Two Men Sued Universal and Won, But Now Owe Thousands

Guests sue Universal over Yesterday movie
Credit: Universal

Could you imagine a world without the music of the Beatles, perhaps the most influential and iconic rock bands of all time? I mean, what would we do if we couldn’t sing along to songs like “Come Together,” “Yellow Submarine,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Hey Jude,” “Let It Be,” and so many more? Our lives would feel a little bit emptier, and the music industry would not be what it is today. The Beatles changed everything and were the start of the British Invasion.

The Beatles Get Back

Credit: Disney

Related: Now and Then: The Last Beatles Song

However, a world without the Beatles is exactly the story told in 2019 when Universal Pictures released the film, Yesterday. Yesterday starred Himesh Patel as Jack Malik, a struggling English musician who longs to be remembered by millions. Jack is in a serious accident, and when he wakes up in the hospital, he realizes that he is the only person who remembers the Beatles (and also Harry Potter).

Yesterday movie Universal

Credit: Universal

Related: Paul McCartney Honors Johnny Depp During Concert in Orlando, One Day After His Defamation Trial Ended

Jack then takes the music and lyrics created by the Beatles and uses them to become the famous musician he always dreamed of. But, in chasing after his dreams, he loses the one woman who truly matters to him. In an interesting twist, Jack is approached by two other people who also remember the music, and thank him for keeping him alive. They also encouraged him to visit John Lennon, who lived a long and happy life, since he never formed the famous group.

John Lennon Universal Yesterday movie

Credit: Universal

When the trailers for Yesterday were released, some fans noticed Knives Out star, Ana de Armas, was also in the movie. According to the two men, Armas was the reason that they decided to rent the film in the first place. And they were shocked when they watched the film and Armas did not appear in it for even one second.

They felt that Universal had purposefully misled fans — so they decided to sue.

Peter Rosza and Conor Woulfe filed their lawsuit against Universal Pictures in 2022 and, even though they each only spent $3.99 to rent the movie, they claimed that they were owed thousands.

Ana de Armas Yesterday Universal trailer

Credit: Universal

According to the lawsuit, which The Hollywood Reporter shared, the two men claimed Universal sought “unjust enrichment” by using de Armas in the trailer.

“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.

Yesterday Universal movie

Credit: Universal

Originally, a federal judge sided with the two men, ruling that movie trailers were not immune from false advertising. However, that was not the end of their lawsuit journey. After a series of legal setbacks, including having most of their claims dismissed, Wolfe and Rosza ended up owing more than $100,000 to Universal in legal fees.

Finally, after more than two years, the men agreed to a proposed settlement. But according to reports, the men are not happy about of. Then again, neither is Universal.

yesterday movie universal

Credit: Universal

Per Variety:

From the evidence of court filings, nobody is happy with the outcome. Universal believes it was forced to spend two years and hundreds of thousands of dollars defending a patently frivolous lawsuit. Meanwhile, the plaintiffs’ class action lawyers — who initially believed the claim was worth millions of dollars — ended up believing that California’s courts are rigged in favor of the Hollywood studios.

Universal Hollywood

Credit: Aditya Vyas on Unsplash

Universal was originally demanding more than $600,000 in reimbursement for legal fees, but they lowered that amount to $472,000. A federal judge then lowered Wolfe and Rosza’s payment to $126,000. The men had tried to turn the lawsuit into a class-action one, but that was denied. So, all they can collect from Universal is the approximately $8 they spent on renting Yesterday.

At this time, the details of the settlement have not been shared. We do not know how much the men will end up paying Universal over a $3.99 film rental.

Do you think the men were ridiculous for suing Universal over the Yesterday trailer? Let us know in the comments!

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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