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A SMALLER JUDGMENT, IN THE MILLIONS

A judge on Wednesday reduced to $8.1 million the amount actress Kim Basinger must pay a small independent studio for backing out of the lead role in the film "Boxing Helena."

Superior Court Judge Judith Chirlin cut $1.5 million off the original $8.9 million in damages a jury ordered Basinger to pay Main Line Pictures Inc. in late March.

But the judge also ruled that the sultry 39-year-old actress -- whose credits include "Batman" and "9 1/2 Weeks" -- would have to pay more than $700,000 in attorneys' fees for Main Line.

Even with the reduced damages, the breach-of-contract award remains one of the largest ever faced by a Hollywood star.

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