Indie distributor accused of 'Ungodly' behavior

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Indie distributor accused of 'Ungodly' behavior

Wed Aug 18, 2010 @ 01:28PM PST

By Eriq Gardner

First Look Studios is being accused of the indie film equivalent of bloody murder: releasing a genre picture with a confusing name, bad sound and poor marketing efforts.

The independent distributor was sued by a production company over "The Ungodly," starring Wes Bentley as an aspiring filmmaker who attempts to profit from a serial killer. When the film came out in 2007, it didn't exactly slay audiences.

But was the distributor to blame?

Circus Road Films thinks so. In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, it claims that First Look "bollixed every aspect of the release" of its film.

The plaintiff lays out the evidence in its complaint. First Look allegedly insisted on a confusing name change to "The Perfect Witness," releasing the DVD with the sound improperly synched, and using a stock photograph to make "original" poster art for the movie. Later, another company used the same poster art to promote a different film.

Circus Road also says that First Look botched paperwork, demanded revisions to deliverables already accepted, and refused to make good on payment obligations.

Like many in the beleaguered indie world, First Look might be suffering from some financial difficulties. In a separate lawsuit filed last February, the company was sued by Bank of America for over $46.5 million owed in loans. That lawsuit, however, was withdrawn in April.

A rep for First Look says it has no comment on the litigation.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to [email protected]

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