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CANNON FODDER

We thought the Cannes issue of the Hollywood Reporter looked kinda thin. Then we noticed that Cannon Films--which usually plugs its products like craaaaaazy--didn’t take out a single ad . . . though Cannon did have 57 pages in Weekly Variety’s Cannes issue.

(Last year, the Reporter’s Cannes issue carried more than 30 pages of Cannon ads--at a rate of $890 per page.)

Editor Teri Ritzer has acknowledged that Cannon had been upset by the Reporter’s coverage, cutting off communication with the trade paper--including advertising. (They even canceled their 50 subscriptions.)

We first heard about the rift from disgruntled staffers who’d been instructed by Ritzer not to discuss the matter outside the office. Failure to comply was grounds for dismissal, they said.

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All the same, several sources at the Reporter expressed disappointment in Ritzer, who sent a letter to Cannon trying to heal wounds and bring back the ads.

Speaking from her hotel in Cannes, where she is covering the film festival, Ritzer told us: “The only way to communicate with them was with a letter--they weren’t taking our phone calls.” She denied “apologizing” to Cannon but acknowledged that she told the company that a new reporter would be taking over their beat. (Chris Goodwin has replaced Chuck Ross on the Cannon beat.)

The letter, she said, “acted as his introduction.”

Does that mean that future reporting of Cannon will be less aggressive?

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“I beg your pardon,” Ritzer bristled, “I would never make a trade-off with anybody. I do my best to separate myself as much as possible from the ad department.”

Since she’s been in Cannes, she added, she’s met with Cannon co-chairman Menahem Golan for a kind of peace conference-breakfast. “And he’s given us some exclusives.”

Asked if those exclusives will include Cannon’s down side, she said, “We’re going for balanced stories. We’re telling both sides.”

Her sentiments were echoed by Golan, who also spoke from Cannes: “We didn’t want to read nasty smears about our company. So we just ceased relationships.”

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Like Ritzer, he denied that the Reporter’s future reporting on Cannon will be solely upbeat. “I did not dictate anything,” said Golan. “But, a trade (newspaper) is different from a regular newspaper. Don’t you think it should be positive about the business it is specializing in? We are all eating from the same plate--which is the movie business.”


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