Controversial content makes it too hot to handle

NEW YORK — Adrian Lyne’s adaptation of “Lolita” has suffered another rejection from a potential distributor.

DirecTV, the company that delivers cable networks and pay-per-view movies and events by satellite, said it has ended negotiations to carry the movie.

A week ago, a DirecTV spokesman said the company was eagerly anticipating the possibility of premiering what could’ve become the highest-visibility movie ever to make its debut on pay-per-view. Filmed by Lyne, a major director (“Fatal Attraction”), and starring the Academy Award-winning Jeremy Irons, the movie cost $50 million to make.

DirecTV had become the last pay-per-view resort for “Lolita” because the two cable pay-per-view distributors, Request TV and Viewer’s Choice, said last week that they were passing on the movie, citing its controversial content. Various sources say all of the major studios have declined to bid on “Lolita” for theatrical distribution in the U.S., even though Pathe, the owner of the movie, has secured wide release for it throughout Europe.

One executive familiar with the negotiations says DirecTV decided against continuing to bargain with Pathe because of worry over a potential backlash by subscribers who might be repelled by the theme of the movie, which is about a middle-aged man’s erotic obsession with a 12-year-old girl.

It didn’t help, says one source, that the actress playing Lolita, Dominique Swain, is only 14 herself. DirecTV declined comment, and a spokeswoman for Pathe was unavailable for comment.

Showtime, which may now be Pathe’s last resort at getting the movie seen in at least some U.S. homes, declined comment on whether it’s still in talks with Pathe over premiering the movie on the pay-cable network sometime this summer.

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