The legal has landed

'Borat' suit may increase pic's hype

In an already litigious town, it seems like everyone’s piling on new lawsuits these days — and from every angle.

While studios typically brace themselves for such mudslinging, one suit filed late last week may actually heighten the already staggering hype surrounding Fox’s “Borat.”

In the suit, two fraternity brothers featured in the mockumentary — in which Sacha Baron Cohen spotlights American foibles in the guise of a Kazakh journo — allege that they were told the pic would never be shown in the U.S. and that their identities would not be revealed.

But the pic’s already in theaters, so the duo will only be able to seek damages after the fact. And the controversy will likely only make “Borat” a hotter commodity.

More common, however, are lawsuits that threaten to taint a pic’s reputation, and even delay release.

In the case of “Deck the Halls,” the Danny Devito and Matthew Broderick holiday comedy that Fox is releasing Nov. 22, screenwriter Patrick Aiello — ironically, now an executive at Fox-based Hyde Park Entertainment — is suing for copyright infringement.

And in the case of Universal’s “Alpha Dog,” due out Jan. 12, the defense attorney for Jesse James Hollywood — the killer who is the subject of the film, which stars Bruce Willis and Sharon Stone — claims that releasing the film before the defendant is brought to trial will negatively affect the outcome of the case.

Such suits are even more common in television, where dramas depicting sullied characters such as O.J. Simpson and the Menendez brothers proliferate. On the small screen, such injunctions are routinely denied.

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