WATER TORTURE

A CLUMSY FIRING MAY NOT HELP SONY'S COLUMBIA PICTURES

Early last week, Mark Canton went to a screening of Jerry Maguire, an upcoming Tom Cruise vehicle about a sports agent, and started to think that life might get better. Yes, the chairman of Sony's film studios, which include Columbia and Tri-Star, had presided over a particularly dreadful summer. He had been excoriated for paying Jim Carrey $20 million for The Cable Guy, which faltered at the box office. And as his competitors feasted on the returns from Twister and Mission: Impossible and Independence Day, Canton suffered the further indignities of Multiplicity and The Fan. But the screening of a potential...

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