It's been a revealing week to see how far Hollywood trade publications will go to please the movie studios they cover. This evening, Nikki Finke reports that The Hollywood Reporter agreed to hide embarrassing financial information about Summit Entertainment after the studio asked to "horse-trade" the information for an exclusive interview with Jodie Foster.
Apparently Summit didn't want THR to reveal that its co-chairman Patrick Waschberger and its COO Bob Hayward would receive about $30 million as the studio goes through refinancing.
"THR news editor Matt Belloni and editor-in-chief Janet Min horse-traded the embarrassing financial information for one of the first major interviews with Jodie Foster about her direction of Mel Gibson's new movie The Beaver", writes Finke.
This comes just two days after Summit Entertainment strong-armed the editors at AOL's film site Moviefone over a less-than-flattering review of its film The Source Code published by Moviefone's sister site TechCrunch.
During that kerfuffle, Moviefone was all too willing to ask its sister site to tone down "the snark" after representatives at Summit applied a little pressure. But Tsotsis refused and lashed out at Moviefone in a post that could just as easily apply to THR's current charade:
The issue is simply that Summit thinks it can pressure us, through an AOL sister site, into making a balanced report more glowing. And while it’s inappropriate, it’s not surprising. What is surprising, and sad, is that Moviefone/AOL actually tried to comply with their request and asked us to change our post. It’s not just sad, it’s wrong.
Piggybacking onto Tsotsis's post, her colleague Paul Carr added that Hollywood publications' should only have two loyalties:
One is to your readers and one is to the company that signs your paychecks. That’s it. You do not – emphatically do not – have a responsibility to “stay on good terms” with movie studios.