Monday, September 12, 2005

The $27,000 Movie Ticket

A while back I posted about Sony using a phony movie reviewer to try to entice people to see completely awful movies. There was a class action lawsuit and you had to sign an affidavit saying you actually paid money to see one of those stinkers. I said I had my dignity and there were some things I wouldn’t do for money.

It seems most of America is with me on this. According to a Washington Post article, the final distribution has been made and an unlucky 170 moviegoing morons are getting a total reward of $5,085.00 or an average of $29.91 each. Figuring two tickets, a box of popcorn, and a soda, that’s about right for wasting 90 minutes of your life that you can never get back. Although for thirty bucks, you could probably have gotten Rob Schneider’s entire oeuvre in the cut-out bin at Blockbuster.

The lawyers, not surprisingly, did a lot better. Their share of the take was $458,900, or $2699.42 per “victim.” Another way to look at it is that the lawyers got 99% of each cinematic sucker’s reward. In fairness, Sony did have to donate the balance of the half-million dollar award trust to charity, so some good was done.

Sony spent an additional $250,000 for administrative fees to find and distribute the settlement, which is like paying $50 for FedEx to rush deliver $1 rebate checks. I don’t know about you, but I missed any full page ads in Parade or Entertainment Weekly publicizing the settlement. In fact, beyond a few wire service stories, the details of the lawsuit were amazingly difficult to track down. Almost like their heart wasn’t in it. There’s a shocker. The movie company that admitted they tried to trick people into seeing crappy movies not exactly trumpeting the refund offer with bold Pete Travers and Gene Shalit blurbs.

I understand the deterrent value of punitive damages, but could someone explain how so much money can be spent with so little result. These people make the Air Force Hammer Procurement Office look like a model of fiscal responsibility.

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29 comments:

colleen said...

This reminds me of the Bush administration using fake jouralists in videos. Hi from michele's

Wickwire said...

Oh brother. I liked how you said Sony spending an additional $250,000 was like paying $50 for FedEx to rush deliver a $1 rebate check.

Oreo said...

Here from Michele's again, interesting post. I guess those 170 were among those who will sue for anything..... VERY cute baby by the way.

used*to*be*me* said...

I can only shake my head in bewilderment. I've worked for attorneys for 14 years and they never cease to amaze me. I've been lucky and not worked for any really, really bad ones. By far, I've determined Personal Injury attorneys to be the worst. Althoug, my years with the asbestos attorneys were pretty bad...

trusty getto said...

Well, I'm downright embarrassed. These types of lawsuits are s'posed to be about accountability. Why judges (and Sony for that matter) allow plaintiffs' attys to print up their own money is a travesty.

I'm a plaintiff's atty, and a personal injury one. It's s'posed to be about making people whole, about righting wrongs, about holding people accountable.

The attys purporting to represent the "victims" ought to be grieved.

What I don't get is why the AGs of the people in the states bilked by the fake reviewer didn't go after Sony. Why is this left to the private sector anyway?

yellojkt said...

thanks keb and tg. I thought this would get some good insider observation.

Destiny Anne said...

thats so sad. here from michele.

Heather said...

Michele sent me.

Congrats on being site of the day :)

Raehan said...

You are a witty writer. Very fun site.

And those poor, poor victims. I AM glad somebody called Sony on their fraud.

Michele sent me.

thatman said...

Hey Michele sent me.

People who'll sue for $30?! Don't they have jobs?

Yaeli said...

Hiya tiger!
Congratulations on being Blog of the Day!!!
It's a crazy world that we live in when people will go to court over $30 cos they made a bad choice and saw a crap movie!! Some people just don't know how to suck it up!

Michele sent me!

melinama said...

I have just become your first bloglines subscriber. Congratulations!

Kitty said...

[cynic mode] Sounds about right to me [/cynic mode]

Michele sent me :)

Star said...

Godd morning. Here today via Michele. This whole class actionthing is quite a racket for the lawyers. One of those lawyer/authors, Grisham ot Turow wrote a book about it.

Suburban Turmoil said...

t'ain't right.

Michele sent me.

Janet said...

sheeple. LOL! Hi, Michele sent me :-)

Pieces of Me said...

Hey!! Congrats on being the site of the day!! The baby pics below are adorable!! TTYL

JustLinda said...

Hi Site of the Day!! Visiting here from Michele's place (that baby down below there is cuuuuuu-uuuute!).

Laura GF said...

Hello, Michele sent me. I agree that phony reviewers are irritatingly misleading. I love rottentomatoes.com because it separates the more high profile, high quality reviewers from the rest of the pack and gives you a sense of the average review for both pools.

Shannon said...

Hi visiting via Michele.....have a good day

Indigo said...

That's just crazy!

Michele sent me, congrats on being the site of the day!

Angela said...

Yeah, I remember hearing about that "reviewer", but I hadn't heard the outcome... interesting. I never pay a lick of attention to the reviewers anyway though--real or phony--half the time if they gush about a film I hate it, and if they slam it I love it!

Michele sent me :)

Nancy said...

Craziness! Michele sent me!

MissMeliss said...

Michele sent me - and I'm laughing over the notion that reviews are really that influential when it comes to choosing movies.

Neat site, btw, love the point about babies and cuteness.

colleen said...

Nice site...all foma aside. I've been here before...from Michele's today!

Arethusa said...

The baby down below is cuuuuuuuute! Hi Yello, Michele sent me. :)

Gosh...I guess this is why so many folks want to go into law. Heh.

srp said...

Congrats on being Michele's site of the day. Doesn't it REALLY bother people that these scumbag lawyers are the ones getting rich over other peoples hurt and sorrow...although I just can't get the pain and suffering associated with a bad movie. You can get up and walk out.

hiro said...

I have a auto accident lawyer site. It pretty much covers auto accident lawyer related stuff. Check it out if you get time :-)

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