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Everything’s Bigger in Movies

Oops! Not all creative accounting in the motion picture industry is premeditated, as followers of Cineplex Odeon Corp. have discovered.

Toronto security analysts recently asked the movie and theater company why its 1988 annual report alludes to tax-loss carryforwards of $100 million at the end of 1987, when the annual report for that year said the sum was a mere $15 million.

No explanation for the $85-million discrepancy was offered in the latest annual report. But Cineplex Chairman Garth H. Drabinsky solved the mystery with a shrug. The lower number, he said, was just a “typographical error.”

‘Toons Baking Well

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Melissa Thomas is looking for her fortune in cookies, and Cruella, Dumbo and Snow White are showing her the way. Slowly. A junior at the University of Southern California, she is the first person to receive a license from Walt Disney Co. to put Disney characters on cookies. She has them baked in Seattle in three-inch, white-cake circles, then iced with a hard, shiny glaze that includes a remarkably colorful portrait of a character. The marketing major said she has sold 50,000 around the country so far to movie theaters, which sell them for 75 cents to $1.25 each. That’s a good start, she thinks--but not enough to repay the $10,000 she borrowed from her family to get started in business.

Century City: Seat of Suitors

Rival suitors for Northwest Airlines--billionaire oilman Marvin Davis and investor Alfred Checchi--are far from strangers. The two are master-minding their separate takeover bids from offices just two floors apart in Fox Plaza, the same Century City high-rise where former President Reagan conducts business. Fox Plaza is owned by media mogul Rupert Murdock, who bought it from Davis in 1985. Joked one Davis acquaintance, “Too bad he didn’t wire it for sound.”

Tailored to the Early Bird

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Here’s a case of the early bird getting the pinstripes.

Richard E. Sherwood, a prominent Los Angeles lawyer with the firm of O’Melveny & Myers, had a problem. He liked shopping at Carroll & Co., a traditional men’s clothier on North Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. But he felt guilty leaving his busy practice in midday to go browsing.

When Richard Carroll, founder and owner of the 40-year-old store, heard Sherwood’s lament, he leaped into action. Starting Tuesday, the retailer will open his doors at 8 a.m. weekdays instead of the usual 9:30.

“We think we’re the first to do it,” he said, acknowledging that “logistically, it’s a very big problem for us” because of the need to schedule extra tailors and an early shift of salespeople. “I don’t know how cost-effective it will be,” Carroll said. “I don’t know if anybody will come in to buy anything, but a lot of people will come in to get things fixed and have a cup of coffee.” That’s coffee and two button-down shirts to go, please.

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Students of Capitalism

The U.S. economy may face challenges from overseas, but foreign students still flock here to learn the ABCs of capitalism.

Students from Hong Kong, Japan, Canada, France, Nigeria and other countries are most likely to major in business and management while in American colleges, according to a recent study by the National Science Foundation. In contrast, engineering is the first choice of students from India, Iran, Taiwan, Malaysia and South Korea.

Taiwan--with 25,660 students in U.S. classrooms--was the leading source of foreign scholars here in 1986, followed by Malaysia, China and South Korea.

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