According to a new federal judgment Wednesday, Marvel Studios and all other Hollywood film studios may be sued for misleading or deceptive trailers.
Movie trailers are used as advertising tools as well as as products that generate interest and excitement in their own right. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is no exception, as its trailers attract large fan interest and stimulate much speculation about the films. When the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 trailer was released, it quickly swept the internet, attracting more than 24 million views in less than a month since its release.
In the past, Marvel trailers did not tend to be maliciously misleading, but they have included footage that did not make it into the final cut of the film or footage that was altered so that it did not spoil any information.
The trailer for Avengers: Infinity War included a scene with Hulk in the Battle of Wakanda, although the Hulk never fully transformed in the film after the opening scene. Furthermore, a shot containing Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield was edited to conceal the actors' appearances in the Spider-Man: No Way Home teaser.
This strategy might cause some trouble for Marvel in the future.
No More Misleading Trailers
According to a Wednesday judgment by U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson, movie studios may be sued if they mislead misleading information about the actors' appearances in a film trailer.
The decision came in the midst of a lawsuit against Universal for the 2019 film Yesterday, which featured actress Ana de Armas despite her not being included in the final cut of the film.
Universal's argument that movie trailers are "artistic, expressive work" that should be considered "non-commercial" speech was rejected by Judge Wilson, confirming the fact that trailers are "commercial speech," since they are "designed to sell a film."
The Court of Appeals ruled against trailers that mislead a "significant portion" of "reasonable consumers." So just because a trailer includes certain shots that are deleted from a movie's final scene doesn't necessarily mean that the film is being promoted as "false advertising."
More Accurate Marvel Trailers?
Marvel Studios, one of the world's largest studios, will not be the exception to this ruling. If MCU trailers continue to contain doctored or unsuitable footage like in Infinity War or No Way Home, the studio will be liable to be sued by consumers who feel misled or lied to.
Perhaps this will result in more accurate MCU trailers, meaning fans will not be forced to wonder whether or not Hulk will be in that scene, or if Marvel is concealing a deleted character from a scene in the trailer.
For the time being, the trailers for the next MCU films are available to watch online, including February's Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and May's Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3.