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Fox presses SearchParty to find a new name

Out-of-court settlement likely, sources say

Distrib SearchParty Films may be in the market for a new name.

Fox Searchlight has been pressuring the company to change its moniker, claiming that the similar names have caused confusion and allowed SearchParty to benefit from a wrongly assumed association with Fox.

Lawyers for both companies are negotiating out of court. Sources close to the controversy say that SearchParty will most likely change its name to avoid the possibility of costly litigation with Fox.

SearchParty was co-founded by “Smoke Signals” producers Larry Estes and Scott Rosenfelt last May.

Estes declined comment, as did a spokesman from Fox Searchlight.

In addition to theatrical distribution, SearchParty serves as an ancillary sales company, video and DVD marketer, music label for film soundtracks and online film marketing company.

Richard Abramowitz, formerly of Stratosphere Entertainment and RKO Pictures Distribution, heads the company’s marketing and distribution division.

Earlier this year at Sundance, SearchParty made several acquisitions, including Stacy Cochran’s “Drop Back Ten,” starring James LeGros and Amber Valletta.

Deals are part of SearchParty’s plan to acquire and handle upward of 100 films a year. Company has offices in Seattle, L.A. and Gotham.

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