Ana de Armas in a cut scene from Yesterday

Ana de Armas Fans’ Bizarre ‘Yesterday’ Lawsuit Ends With an Ambiguous Resolution

The strange lawsuit brought by fans of Ana de Armas against the 2019 film Yesterday has reached a resolution, but the ambiguous outcome makes the validity of their claims uncertain.

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When news first broke of the Yesterday lawsuit, it was so strange that many had trouble believing it was legitimate. In January 2022, two de Armas fans, Conor Woulfe and Peter Rosza, filed a lawsuit against the film’s distributor, Universal Pictures, for false advertising. The pair claimed they were misled into renting Yesterday due to the trailer briefly showing de Armas. They allegedly only paid the $3.99 rental fee to see de Armas and were shocked to find she doesn’t appear in the film at all, as the scene in the trailer was ultimately cut from the final version. Instead of seeking a refund for the $3.99 they paid, the pair sought a whopping $5 million from Universal on behalf of every viewer who was duped into seeing the movie through the deceptive advertising.

The lawsuit felt a bit outlandish. It’s well known that movies undergo multiple cuts, and it’s not uncommon for a brief moment in a trailer to not make the final cut. Additionally, many found it doubtful that the damages caused by de Armas’ absence equated to $5 million. However, by December 2022, the fans secured a surprising victory when the lawsuit was permitted to proceed, with a federal judge pointing out that a trailer is still “an advertisement designed to sell a movie” and was therefore vulnerable to false advertising charges.

At first, it seemed the lawsuit would be quite a groundbreaking one, but then the legal process got complicated.

What happened to the Yesterday lawsuit?

Himesh Patel as Jack Malik in Yesterday
(Universal Pictures)

Despite the initial victory, Woulfe and Rosza quickly encountered problems with their Yesterday lawsuit. They were struck a blow in August 2023 when the same judge who initially ruled in their favor, Judge Stephen Wilson, ruled that their lawsuit could not be granted class-action status as sought. The judge noted that Woulfe rented the film a second time on Google Play, thinking that Yesterday‘s director’s cut would feature de Armas. However, Universal had provided no indication that she’d be in the director’s cut. Hence, that injury was deemed “self-inflicted” and the judge also grew skeptical of the claims that Woulfe and Rosza watched the movie solely based on false statements from Universal Pictures of de Armas’ appearance.

On top of that, since the judge dismissed some of the lawsuit’s claims, Universal Pictures had an opportunity to fight for Woulfe and Rosza to pay part of the studio’s legal fees. Meanwhile, the studio’s enormous legal fees were over hundreds of thousands of dollars. Without class-action status and the studio seeking legal fee payment, a lengthy legal process was in store to resolve the years-old lawsuit. As a result, Woulfe, Rosza, and Universal Pictures quietly settled the lawsuit, giving notice of the settlement on April 12.

The settlement terms remain undisclosed, and neither party has publicly addressed the lawsuit. However, Variety reports that neither party was happy with the outcome. The filing allegedly indicated that Universal Pictures was unsatisfied with the legal fees spent on the “frivolous lawsuit,” while Woulfe and Rosza felt the courts were biased against them.

The ambiguous outcome leaves the significance of the lawsuit unclear. Given the roadblocks it faced, it’s unclear if similar lawsuits could succeed and if studios need to worry about the numerous trailers out there that likely contain footage not shown in a movie’s final cut.

Ultimately, the most significant aspect of the lawsuit was its initial validation. However, a similar lawsuit likely couldn’t gain class-action status, and plaintiffs would need to be aware of susceptibility to hefty fines.

(featured image: Universal Pictures)


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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.