I've been curious what Amy Wallace would have to say about Bart being kicked upstairs at Variety, nearly eight years after she profiled him in a terrific, much-talked about piece for Los Angeles magazine that got him briefly suspended as editor in chief. (Lede: "Peter Bart is on the phone, and he’s threatening to sue.") Wallace, now at Portfolio, writes in The Peter Bart I Knew that went up overnight on that magazine's site:
While at a movie premiere after-party in New York City about a month after my story was published, I spotted a studio chief I knew, who appeared to be making a beeline straight for me. "I have to tell you a story," the studio boss said, launching into a tale about a lunch with Bart the previous December. It wasn't the first lunch the two had shared, but this one was memorable.
According to this studio chief, before they'd even looked at their menus, Bart announced: "Your studio has not been advertising enough in Variety. That has affected my Christmas bonus." Bart said there would be repercussions, the studio chief told me: "For the next six months, you won't catch a break in Variety."
I asked if Bart made good on his threat. "Oh yes," the studio chief said, noting that even on the weekends the studio came in No. 1 at the box-office, the story in Variety would start off with a dig—something like, "Despite a string of flops…" So what did you do, I asked. The studio chief didn't hesitate: “We upped our ad buy.”
Wallace recently switched from staff to contract at Portfolio. Her 2001 story on Bart was a National Magazine Award finalist.