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By Film Threat Staff | June 4, 2001

He hailed “The Animal” from Sony as “another winner!” The only trouble is that David Manning of The Ridgefield Press doesn’t even exist. The movie critic is a complete fabrication from Sony’s advertising department. This must explain why even Tomcats got a great review. But seriously, does anyone believe any of those insanely positive quotes on movie ads? Here’s the story from Reuters:
Columbia Invents Fake Gushy Movie Critic ^ LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Advertisements for a string of recent movies from Columbia Pictures have included gushingly positive comments from a critic who does not exist, Newsweek magazine reported in its edition that goes on sale on Monday. ^ The fake critic, David Manning, was the creation of an employee in the studio’s advertising department whose unfailingly upbeat quotes went unchallenged since last July and were included in ad copy for at least four films, the magazine reported. ^ The rave reviews attributed to Manning included praise of ”A Knight’s Tale” — calling Australian actor Heath Ledger ”this year’s hottest new star!” — and a thumbs-up for the Rob Schneider comedy “The Animal” hailed as “another winner!” ^ Other comments from the fake critic were used in ad copy for “Hollow Man” and “Vertical Limit,” the magazine said. ^ Susan Tick, a spokeswoman for Columbia’s parent Sony Pictures Entertainment, could not be reached for immediate comment, but was quoted by Newsweek as confirming the reviews were concocted, which she called “an incredibly foolish decision.” ^ Sony Pictures Entertainment, the movie making arm of Sony Corp (news – web sites)., has pulled ads that contain the fabricated quotes although some newspapers had already included them in editions this weekend, Newsweek said. ^ In the ad copy Manning is identified as a movie reviewer for The Ridgefield Press, a family-owned weekly in a small Connecticut town.
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