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Lawsuit leads Warner Bros. to affix disclaimers to The Devil's Advocate's home-video release

Lawsuit leads Warner Bros. to affix disclaimers to boxes of Reeves-Pacino film The Devil’s Advocate’s home-video release

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Keanu Reeves’ soul-bargaining barrister in The Devil’s Advocate was lucky. He never had to tackle a copyright-infringement suit, much less apply almost half a million disclaimers to video boxes as a consequence of one. That’s the devilish task set for, uh, somebody, in the wake of Warner Bros.’ Feb. 12 settlement with sculptor Frederick Hart, who contended that a bas-relief that erupts into a demonic orgy near the end of Advocate is a ”grotesque distortion” of his sculpture Ex Nihilo. Now 425,000 cassettes in circulation need a sticker disclaiming any association with the Washington National Cathedral sculpture. ”Warner actually sent marketing people out to affix them themselves,” reports Bob Webb, senior VP of purchasing and operations at Ingram Entertainment, the studio’s largest distributor, ”but found it was too time consuming.”

Warner spokesperson Barbara Brogliatti says that ”the majority of stores had received stickers by the [tape’s] first weekend,” but two weeks after the settlement, an unscientific sampling of stores in four states showed that most retailers were just awakening to the chore. ”Our boss gave us the stickers a few minutes ago,” said one teen clerk at a Beverly Hills Blockbuster on Feb. 25. ”He said it wasn’t top priority. Why are you asking? Am I in trouble? Are you a lawyer? I promise I’ll get to them.”