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300 in Filmland Fete Columbia’s New Chief

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The Scene: Sony Pictures Entertainment’s cocktail party in honor of Mark Canton, the newly named chairman of Columbia Pictures. The gathering, which shut down Morton’s on Friday night, was a schmooze fest of the highest order.

Who Was There: Studio executives, stars and Tinseltown power-wielders, about 300 in all (and primarily male), including Kim Basinger, Jeff Berg, Jake Bloom, Peter Bogdanovich, Paul Block, Norman Brokaw, Jim Brooks, Jerry Bruckheimer, Melanie Cook, Bob Daly, Sean Daniel, Marvin and Barbara and John Davis, Michael Douglas, Anton Furst, Sandy Gallin, Paul-Michael and Elizabeth Glazer, Larry Gordon, Brian Grazer, Amy Heckerling, Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, Madonna (sporting a beret), Mike Medavoy, Bruce McNall, Ron Meyer, Mo Ostin, Michael Ovitz, Jon Peters, Molly Ringwald, Chuck Roven and Dawn Steel, Barbet Schroeder, Joel Silver, Don Simpson, Sylvester Stallone, Rosalie Swedlin and Robert Cort, Jerry Weintraub, James Wiatt and Ed Zwick. Also, hordes of Sony, Tri-Star and Columbia executives, including SPE chairman Peter Guber and his wife, Lynda, and Mrs. Canton, a.k.a. producer Wendy Finerman.

Quoted: “It’s an impossible room to work,” said producer Lynda Obst, overwhelmed by the choices.

Toast: “This is not a dress rehearsal. This is it. And we’re all counting on you,” Guber said brightly to Canton.

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The Buzz: High anxiety over box office, who will take over production at Paramount in the wake of recent departures, what the big Christmas movies will be (bets are on “Hook,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Prince of Tides”) and what an all-around nice guy Canton is. “He’s solution-oriented,” said one Columbia executive. “It’s not, ‘You stupid idiot, how could you let me down?’ ”

Keeping Your Wits About You: Diet Coke and club soda were the two most frequently requested beverages, and don’t forget Evian.

Dress Code: It’s going to be hard for executives anywhere to live up to The Sony Look, characterized by the expensive, perfectly tailored pinstriped suits favored by Guber and Canton and--outside the studio system entirely--Lisa Eisner. And as for feet, the Reebok contingent was led by David Geffen, Chevy Chase and the waiters.

Observed: Perhaps anthropologists can make something of this: The entire crowd remained cramped together in one quadrant of Morton’s tented parking lot, leaving the rest of the lot and the entire restaurant completely empty.

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Mickey Mouse Message: A large rectangular cake was iced with an image of Mickey Mouse and this inscription, “CONGRATULATIONS! AND BEST WISHES FOR MUCH SUCCESS!” The sheet cake, a gift from Disney’s Jeffrey Katzenberg, went untouched.


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