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.
Technorati tag:hummingbird rump, Washington Post, Sony, movies, lawyers