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‘Damage’ bow pushed back due to NC-17 flap

New Line Cinema said release of director Louis Malle’s “Damage” has been pushed back due to its previously reported skirmish with the Motion Picture Assn. of America over the movie’s NC-17 rating.

The company said it has bumped “Damage” from its Dec. 16 release in Los Angeles and New York to Dec. 23, while national release will be pushed back from Jan. 15 to Jan. 22.

As previously reported, New Line appealed the NC-17 rating given the Jeremy Irons/Juliette Binoche starrer on the grounds that such studio films as TriStar Pictures’ “Basic Instinct” have been just as erotic and received R ratings.

An NC-17 rating can have a profound impact on the commercial prospects of a movie: the rating lops off at least half the number of theaters that a movie can play in, since numerous theaters nationwide are prohibited in lease agreements from playing NC-17 movies.

Because of the company’s appeal of the NC-17 rating for “Damage,” New Line has been unable to send out one-sheets or trailers for the movie–a key factor in the company’s decision to push back release.

Distribution president Mitchell Goldman said New Line and Malle will decide shortly on how to proceed.

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