Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro, two actors well-known for avoiding most or all endorsements or commercial tie-ins, have sued the watch manufacturer Tutima Inc. as well as the film distributor Overture Films. The offending advertisements were tied to the film “Righteous Kill” in which Pacino and DeNiro starred. The news announcement can be viewed at this link:
The offending activities apparently included a series of print advertisements as well as a clip of Righteous Kill which appeared on Tutima’s website. The advertisements used the images of the actors as well as their names.
“De Niro’s and Pacino’s policies concerning commercial endorsements and tie-ins are common knowledge in the entertainment industry,” the lawsuit said. “Defendants’ actions have damaged De Niro’s and Pacino’s valuable reputations and diminished the commercial value of their name and images.”
Both men were very careful about product endorsement, the lawsuit said, with De Niro only endorsing a product or service “under very specific and compelling circumstances.”
“Pacino, over the course of his lengthy career, has never commercially endorsed any product or service in the United States,” the lawsuit said.
Overture and Tutima could not be immediately reached for comment.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, seeks monetary damages for breach of contract, violations of right of publicity and right of privacy laws in an amount to be determined at trial.
Both actors signed talent agreements in 2007 that prohibited using the actors for merchandising or product placements without prior written consent, the suit said.
In “Righteous Kill,” released in September, 2008, Pacino and De Niro played two veteran cops on the trail of a serial killer in a film that was panned by critics. It made more than $78 million worldwide, according to research company Box Office Mojo.