LAS VEGAS - Arrow Productions and Vivid Entertainment may be headed to court in a dispute over the release of director Paul Thomas' movie Throat: A Cautionary Tale.
On behalf of Arrow owner Ray Pistol, attorney Allan Gelbard sent a cease-and-desist letter to Vivid Jan. 21, citing breach of contract and trademark infringement related to Arrow's ownership of the X-rated classic Deep Throat.
"I've known Ray Pistol for years, and I like and respect him very much," Vivid co-chairman Steve Hirsch told AVN. "The misunderstanding here comes from the fact that Ray believes he should be the only one who can use the word Throat in a movie title. We don't believe that's the case."
Throat: A Cautionary Tale is a loose remake of the 1972 Gerard Damiano classic. However, Hirsch said, Vivid has scrupulously avoided the use of the Deep Throat moniker, striking any references to Linda Lovelace or the famous film title from the new movie and its packaging.
The Arrow camp insists that the new movie trades on the well-known name of the original film, even without the use of the word 'Deep'.
"Despite being notified that Arrow considers the inclusion of the word Throat in the title of your production to be a violation of its trademark and contractual rights, Vivid has gone ahead with the advertisement and planned release of the disputed work under the title Throat: A Cautionary Tale," Gelbard wrote. "Such use is in violation of my client’s federally registered trademark and Vivid’s obligations under the agreement."
Regardless of the title dispute, Arrow further claims that Vivid breached its contract by failing to provide Arrow with a screener copy of the new movie for approval. This aspect of the agreement is tied in with "Deeper Throat," the World of Wonder reality TV series about the making of the movie debuting Feb. 14 on Showtime.
"My client was to have an exclusive first look at Vivid's completed work [...] before the work was exploited in any manner by Vivid," Gelbard wrote. "At no time has my client been provided with a DVD copy of the finished
work, or the required notice of submission."
Citing Vivid's Throat release party during the 2009 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo and other pre-release publicity as an "incurable material breach of the agreement", Gelbard ordered Vivid to submit a copy of the finished movie and an accounting of the budget to Arrow.
The negotiations between Vivid and Arrow over Throat are a central element of the "Deeper Throat" series. Hirsch declined to elaborate on the record about the situation between the two companies due to a non-disclosure policy surrounding the cable TV show.
Gelbard's letter gives Vivid 30 days to remedy the alleged breaches of contract. If Pistol is not given the opportunity to sign off on the movie, or if he chooses not to exercise his option, then Arrow vs. Vivid will go to court.
Meanwhile, Vivid is scheduled to screen portions of "Deeper Throat" Saturday night at the opening of its 25th anniversary art exhibit at the World of Wonder Gallery in Hollywood. Throat: A Cautionary Tale is slated for release in March.
Pistol and Arrow marketing rep Robert Interlandi declined to comment on this story.
Hirsch told AVN that the matter is now in the hands of Vivid's attorneys.