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New Line raked for ‘Lawn’

A Gotham judge has found New Line Cinema in contempt of court for disobeying an order to remove scribe Stephen King’s name from packaging and posters for vidcassettes of “The Lawnmower Man.”

In a ruling Friday, Judge Constance Baker Motley again ordered New Line to remove King’s name from all promotional and distribution material within 30 days or the indie will be charged $ 10,000 a day.

New Line had no comment on the decision.

Motley ruled in May 1993 that New Line and Allied Vision, producers of the virtual-reality pic, had illegally used the author’s name in its promotional campaign. The case was settled with a $ 3.4 million payment to King and a court order prohibiting use of his name.

Released in March 1992, the pic purported to be based on a 10-page short story of the same name by King. The judge upheld the horror scribe’s argument, ruling that only one two-minute scene of the 100-minute pic was actually taken from King’s story.

Attorney Peter Herbert said King was so upset by the usage that he later launched an investigation to see if New Line had complied with the 1993 order. After sending investigators all over the country, he said, King discovered that roughly 90% of the videos and advertising displays still bore King’s name. “Everything that was out there originally was still out there,” Herbert said.

Herbert also claimed that New Line execs filed false affidavits that said the indie had complied with the order.

In addition to the hefty daily fine, the judge ruled New Line must award King any profits derived from the continued use of his name during the period of contempt, May 17, 1993, to present.

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