If you read Cinematical every day and/or keep close tabs on the morality of our industry you might have seen a big scandal arise over on Hollywood's stalwart trade paper, Variety. Scott Weinberg brought you the news that Variety had reportedly pulled a negative review of the film Iron Cross once the film's director and producer, Joshua Newton, spent $400,000 on advertising banners.
Gawker never could get a response from Variety, but the LA Times did. Variety put Robert Koehler's review of Iron Cross back up, and claimed they had taken it down in order to investigate "factual inaccuracies" after Newton complained. This investigation included Variety's editor Tim Gray actually sitting and watching the film, and deciding that the trade could stand by Koehler's review. Gray declined to give his own opinion on the film to the Times.
But Iron Cross' Newton isn't satisfied. According to the New York Times, Newton has now filed a lawsuit against Variety accusing the paper of "contractual breach, negligence, fraud and deceit, and unfair business practices." He believes he was betrayed by the paper that suggested the film as a potential awards contender and approached him two months later with the advertising package. They formed an "exclusive media partnership" which included print and online ads, 40,000 DVDs, and inclusion in an awards screening series sponsored by the paper. Newton spent an additional $800,000 to finish the film for its brief theatrical run in Los Angeles that would allow it to qualify for the Oscars. The producer claims this partnership and Oscar campaign was undermined when Koehler ran a negative review of the film. He's asking for "general damages, punitive damages, restitution of funds paid and an injunction to prevent Variety from further comment on the movie" but has not specified a monetary amount.