Fatal Subtraction For Hollywood Bookkeeping

The movie business' creative accounting gets a rewrite

There truly is no business like show business. Hollywood enjoys accounting rules unique in American industry. How unique? Millions spent on executive salaries, failed projects, advertising costs, and even lunches can be counted as long-term assets, not expenditures. The remarkably pliant rules have allowed some companies to rejigger quarterly profits and balance-sheet entries with more ease--and less public outcry--than ordering up a happy ending for The Scarlet Letter.

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