Hoping for encouragement from the Sunday New York Times and other weekly reviewers, the producers of the heavily bad-mouthed “La Bete” sank $70,000 into Times ads last week and held off posting a closing notice.

But the Times came up with another thumbs-down and insiders on the “La Bete” team were pessimistic about a reprieve. Barring a boxoffice miracle, the comedy seems destined to die the most expensive death in straight-play history, corning in well over the $2 million mark.

The Eugene O’Neill Theater boxoffice was wrapping about $10,000 daily last week.

Still, co-producer Stuart Ostrow said that Steven Spielberg, Robert De Niro and Jane Fonda all have expressed interest in a film treatment.

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