Duped moviegoers to receive $1.5 mil settlement

Sony will have to pay $1.5 million to film fans in a settlement over a fake critic the studio invented to praise Sony titles.

Settlement, to which Sony agreed late last year, was finalized in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday.

Case centered on movie reviews by a film critic named David Manning. In 2001 praise from Manning was included in ads for films such as “Hollow Man” and “A Knight’s Tale.” His quotes appeared in promotional material for films including “The Patriot,” “Vertical Limit” and “The Animal.”

Manning was said to be an employee of the Ridgefield Press, a small newspaper in Connecticut, but there was no such critic at the paper and the nom de plume was invented by Sony.

The studio temporarily suspended two employees after an internal investigation.

Sony did not admit liability in the settlement and declined to comment. According to the settlement, people who saw the falsely touted films can get a $5 refund from the studio. If the full $1.5 million is not claimed, money left over will go to charity.

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