Entertainment Today: Showbiz news

By United Press International   |   Feb. 4, 2002 at 4:45 AM   |   0 comments

'AUSTIN POWERS' LOSES TITLE

The Motion Picture Association of America has rejected New Line Cinema's appeal of its earlier decision denying use of the title "Austin Powers in Goldmember" for the third installment of Mike Myers' "Austin Powers" franchise.

MGM -- which challenged New Line's use of the term, claiming that it sounds too much like the title of the 1964 James Bond movie "Goldfinger" -- issued a statement expressing satisfaction with the MPAA's ruling. "We are gratified that the title issue has been resolved in our favor," it said, "and we intend to vigorously protect our other intellectual property rights in this matter."

Even though both previous Powers movies have poked considerable fun at Bond and the super spy movie genre in general -- including "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" -- this is the first time the MPAA has denied New Line permission to suggest a specific Bond reference.

New Line indicated that it would accept the MPAA ruling, even though it could pursue the matter in a court of law. "The appeal process has come to a close, and though New Line is disappointed by the MPAA's decision, we will abide by it," said the studio in a statement. "We remain committed to our filmmaker's vision and are moving forward."

Scheduled for a July 26 release, the third Powers movie features Mike Myers as four characters -- including the super villain Goldmember. There is speculation in Hollywood that even the character's name might be a bone of contention because -- with its victory at the MPAA -- MGM could take the next step and raise formal objections to specific content in the movie.

(Thanks to UPI Hollywood Reporter Pat Nason)


WINONA RYDER

Winona Ryder faces felony shoplifting and drug possession charges in connection with her arrest last month in Beverly Hills, Calif.

On Friday, the actress was charged with grand theft, vandalism and burglary charges stemming from her alleged attempt to walk out of Sak's Fifth Avenue on Dec. 12 with a handbag and items of clothing valued at between $4,000 and $5,000. She also was charged with possession of the potent painkiller Oxycodone. She is scheduled to be arraigned this Friday.

Ryder has insisted the shoplifting arrest was largely a misunderstanding. Her attorney, Mark Geragos, told reporters he was "hard-pressed to believe the conduct alleged equaled four felonies." He also said his client had prescriptions for whatever drugs she was taking.


REBA McENTIRE

Reba McEntire confirms that she has been tapped to produce a made-for-television version of the Broadway musical "Annie Get Your Gun." McEntire wowed 'em on the Great White Way with her authentic portrayal of Annie Oakley last year, then brought her talents to TV in her own sitcom -- which, by the way, has been renewed for a second season. Country Music Television reports the film is being made in conjunction with MCA records. No air date has been announced.

(Thanks to UPI's Dennis Daily)


BOX OFFICE

For the third weekend, war drama "Black Hawk Down" was the top movie in America, with an estimated $11.5 million at 3,143 theaters during the Friday-Sunday period, studio sources said Sunday.

Disney's third weekend of family comedy "Snow Dogs" came in a solid second with $9.9 million at 2,426 theaters. Disney also snagged third with its second weekend of "The Count of Monte Cristo" with $9 million at 2,211 sites, edging out Warner Bros.' second weekend of teen romance "A Walk to Remember" with $8.8 million at 2,420 locations.

Universal's sixth weekend of "A Beautiful Mind" finished fifth with $8.5 million at 2,250 theaters as the drama continued to rack up awards. "Mind" received three nominations from the Screen Actors Guild last week for Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and its cast and has totaled $104.6 million in 45 days, making it the 244th film to top $100 million domestically.

Rounding out the top 10 were "The Mothman Prophecies," "Lord of the Rings," "I Am Sam," "Kung Pow: Enter the Fist," and a tie between "Orange County" and "Slackers."

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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