Hollywood film studio Sony-TriStar has reached a $1.5 million (GBP850,000) settlement over accusations it advertised movies using quotes from a fabricated film critic.

In 2001 billboards and TV commercials featured soundbites praising the studio's movies from reviewer DAVID MANNING of The Ridgefield Press - but the journalist was invented by marketing staff at Sony-TriStar.

Quotes attributed to Manning were used to promote hollow man, A KNIGHT'S TALE, The Patriot, the animal and VERTICAL LIMIT - but film fans can now demand a refund for cinema tickets purchased for these movies.

Sony-TriStar refused to admit liability but offered the settlement last year (04) in a bid to avoid a lengthy and costly court case - the agreement was finalised yesterday (02AUG05) by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Carolyn Kuhl.

Manning supposedly called Heath Ledger "this year's hottest new star" for his lead role in A Knight's Tale, and described Hollow Man as "one hell of a scary ride".

The Ridgefield Press, a local paper in Connecticut, says it has never employed someone called David Manning, and Sony-TriStar suspended two employees following an internal enquiry.

04/08/2005 10:52