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Reports Say Canton Set to Leave Sony

September 12, 1996

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Mark Canton, the Sony Corp. movie chief responsible for such flops as ``The Fan″ and ``The Cable Guy,″ may be out of a job shortly, it was reported Wednesday.

Canton could be replaced as chairman of Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Cos. by October, the Los Angeles Times reported. The Wall Street Journal carried a similar report.

The newspapers cited anonymous sources either close to the company or Canton. The Times said Canton could receive a $12 million settlement.

Calls to Columbia TriStar and Sony were not immediately returned Wednesday. The companies declined comment to the Times and Journal.

Canton has responsibility for picking the 20 to 25 films released annually by the studio, which lacked a single hit during the summer blockbuster season.

The whopping $20 million salary Jim Carrey received for ``The Cable Guy″ generated additional criticism for Canton.

Sony, the giant Japanese electronics firm which bought the studio in 1989, has struggled to find executives to run its film divisions with consistent success.

In September 1994, Peter Guber resigned as chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment after fielding an uneven five years of hits like ``Sleepless in Seattle″ and misses like ``The Last Action Hero.″

In the past few months, Sony Pictures Entertainment has lost several top executives including marketing chief Sid Ganis, TriStar Pictures President Marc Platt and production executive Lisa Henson.

Sources told the Times that Jeff Sagansky, executive vice president of Sony Corp. of America, also is unhappy and has sought release from his contract.

The Journal reported that several people are considered possible replacements for Canton, including Lucy Fisher, a Columbia TriStar vice chairwoman; Jack Rapke, an agent at Creative Artists Agency; John Calley, president of United Artists Pictures and movie producer Brian Grazer.

The entertainment publication Daily Variety said Wednesday that Arnold Rifkin, head of the motion picture division at the William Morris Agency, had been offered the position.

Rifkin’s office declined to comment on the report.

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