Lionsgate and Grindstone Entertainment are facing a lawsuit filed by Jesse Eisenberg over the DVD cover of the low budget horror film Camp Hell. The DVD cover art prominently features The Social Network stars name and face, which is apparently a major oversell in terms of Eisenberg’s involvement in the movie.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Eisenberg is suing Lionsgate and Grindhouse over the cover, “for allegedly turning his less-than-five-minute cameo in the horror flick Camp Hell into an above-the-title star turn." The complaint states that the actor is suing in order to warn his fans that, despite how it looks on the DVD cover, he’s not the star of the film, nor does he play a prominent role in the movie. He’s also looking for $3 million in damages. Considering that’s more than what it cost to make the movie, they may as well have hired him to star in it to begin with.
Here’s what the DVD cover looks like:
The Reporter references Psycho as an example of an “above-the-title star” being killed off in the first half of the movie. Janet Leigh’s character’s early demise in the film came as quite a shock to viewers, which as the Reporter points out, “was rendered for great dramatic effect.” People didn’t expect it, which is exactly why it worked.
I'm also reminded of Scream, back when the film was being advertised and it seemed like Drew Barrymore was all over the promotions. She’s even featured in front of the rest of the cast in some of the promotional photos and DVD art for the 1996 Wes Craven horror film. Who expected her to get offed before the title even showed up on the screen?
On one hand, it was a brilliant shocker and one that kicked off the start of a really fun horror movie, but on the other hand, were they maybe trying to sell the name, at least just a teensy bit? They already had Courteney Cox and Neve Campbell, both of whom were gaining fame for Friends and Party of Five respectively, but the rest were relatively unknown at the time (we’d see more of David Arquette, Skeet Ulrich, Jamie Kennedy and Rose McGowan later). Hard to say? Either way, the pay-off of Barrymore’s one and only scene was worth being lured in by her name and face at the time. From the sound of it, the same isn’t the case with Eisenberg’s brief appearance in Camp Hell. It sounds more like they're trying to bank on his name and face based on a very small part, which is definitely misleading. Buyer beware.