Lions Gate believes they have 'contractual right to run the ads'

Lions Gate Films is going full steam ahead with its ad campaign for docu “Beyond the Mat,” completely ignoring the legal threats made last month by the World Wrestling Federation.

“We have the contractual right to run the ads as they are and will not be intimidated by the WWF’s bully tactics, nor will we give in to the WWF’s pressure to suppress this wonderful motion picture,” said Lions Gate co-prexy Tom Ortenberg.

The ads, which feature the buzz phrase “the film (WWF head) Vince McMahon does not want you to see” and the org’s prized wrestler the Rock, will unspool nationwide this week on major TV, print and radio outlets.

They can also be viewed at the pic’s Web site, http://www.beyondthemat.net.

Expected to run during USA Network’s “WWF Raw” and UPN’s “Smackdown,” the spots were pulled by the WWF after it sent a cease and desist letter to Lions Gate.

These ads “for TV, print or otherwise constitute an impermissible use of WWF’s intellectual property,” wrote spokesman Edward Kaufman. “Failure to comply with these requests will result in our instituting legal action.”

Filmed by Barry Blaustein, “Beyond the Mat” documents the lives of several pro wrestlers, following WWF’s superstars as well as its down-trodden has-beens. Pic opens wide on Friday.

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