The deadline came and went Monday, and neither side blinked in the ongoing battle between Columbia Pictures and the Los Angeles Times over the paper’s coverage of a purported “Last Action Hero” screening.
As of last night, representatives of the studio and the paper were still in discussions over the fate of freelancer Jeffrey Wells.
He’s the reporter who penned a June 6 Calendar section article claiming that numerous people had attended a screening of the film at Pasadena’s UA Marketplace and were disappointed with the Arnold Schwarzenegger film, which opened last weekend.
The studio, which called the article “an utterly irresponsible and untrue account,” sent a letter to the Times June 15 demanding that Wells be barred from covering the studio. Columbia also said that if their demand was not met by noon Monday, all Times writers and editors would be barred from studio screenings and announcements.
Columbia is also reported to be considering quitting advertising in the paper , but most observers feel that this is an idle threat, considering that this policy would not go over well with other Columbia producers who wanted their films advertised. Furthermore, since many film ads in the Times are co-op ads — meaning those ordered and paid for in conjunction with theater chains — this would not sit well with the exhibitors, who also want to advertise in the paper.
“Nothing has changed as far as the paper’s position is concerned,” said Times executive Calendar editor John Lindsay. He added that he is continuing to work with Wells.
Columbia representatives would not comment.