If it's crap ... We'll tell you
If you peruse the new release wall of your local videostore, assuming of course that it hasn't already closed it doors for good, you may notice a peculiar DVD cover. It is for a rather basic direct-to-video horror film called 'Camp Hell' and just as you are about to turn up your nose and walk by, you notice the familiar visage of one Jesse Eisenberg ('The Social Network,' 'Zombieland'). Eisenberg is given top billing on this cover, his name even featured above the title, so one would assume he is the star, right? Wrong. Apparently Eisenberg's part is little more than a cameo, which he only did as a favor to friends producing/directing the film; though he was paid to appear. The actor is now suing the companies behind the release of this 2010 horror film: Lionsgate and Grindstone Entertainment. He is alleging that his "right of publicity was misappropriated" and that the filmmakers used his image for financial gain. Apparently this lawsuit is designed to protect Eisneberg's fans from being lied to and, I guess, having to sit through 'Camp Hell' under false pretenses. He is also asking for $3 million in damages. The film's budget was just under that mark.
I'm having a hard time believing that the entire impetus of this lawsuit wasn't someone at Eisenberg's publicist's office striving to ensure the success of his next run at an Oscar. I doubt Eisenberg himself cares about protecting fans from false advertising or that even cares whether anyone buys this movie. This is PR and respectability damage control and Eisenberg is likely just along for the ride. It just seems unlikely that he'd agree to be in a friend's movie, get paid for it, and then turn around and file a lawsuit against that movie that could potentially bankrupt it just because they gave his character too much attention and tried to sell a few more copies off his popularity. Also, he's in the movie, does he really have a case here? Did he really think they were going to use Andrew McCarthy as their big selling point? This sort of flimflam marketing is by no means a new invention. For many years exploitation and otherwise low-budget films have been marketed on things that are either less prominent than their packaging would have you believe or, in some cases, is not in the film at all. The poster for 'Battle Beyond the Stars' features characters who aren't in the film and the below poster for 1988's 'Robo Vampire' professes that Robocop himself is in the film...which he is definitely not. Hey Jesse, Robocop didn't sue, just saying.