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Yeah, Baby! Austin Powers Wins 'Goldmember' Title

Yeah, baby! Austin Powers, international man of mystery, went for the gold -- "Goldmember", that is -- and got it.

Film studios New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. on Wednesday said they agreed that comedian Mike Myers can use the title Austin Powers in Goldmember as the title of the upcoming spy movie that spoofs the James Bond films.

The deal settles a months-long dispute that erupted in January when a Motion Picture Association of America arbitration panel ruled New Line and Myers could not use the Goldmember name for the third installment of the popular comedies because it was too close to a James Bond film title owned by MGM.

The name is a play on the 1964 Bond movie Goldfinger, to which MGM owns rights and guards closely because Bond is a billion-dollar franchise for the company.

Back in January, MGM Vice Chairman Chris McGurk said the company has a "zero-tolerance policy" toward others who trade on the Bond name. The 20th Bond movie, Die Another Day is currently in production, and is set to hit theaters this fall.

But before that debut, Powers, who lives in the late 1960s but has traveled through time and space in his past movies, is set to put his own mojo back to work in July, this year.

The second installment, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, grossed nearly $310 million worldwide in 1999, and more in its opening weekend than the first movie, 1997's Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery did in its entire run.

The Spy Who Shagged Me was a play on a 1977 Bond movie title, The Spy Who Loved Me. MGM challenged that title, too, but settled that dispute when New Line agreed to play the trailer for upcoming MGM movies ahead of the Austin Powers sequel.

Details of the settlement in the case of Goldmember were not disclosed, and spokesmen for both studios declined to comment beyond a brief, two-paragraph statement.

News that a settlement was in the works first appeared in show business newspapers earlier this week. Daily Variety reported that Die Another Day and other MGM movies will have their trailers -- promotional clips from the film -- shown in theaters ahead of "Goldmember."

The MGM challenge proved costly for New Line. Back in January, it was forced to recall about 11,000 trailers it already had in theaters using the Goldmember name, and it has been calling the movie, simply Austin Powers 3 since then.

New Line is a unit of AOL Time Warner Inc. .

April 11, 2002

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