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Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.


Looks like New Line lost their appeal to get back the rights to use the title AUSTIN POWERS: GOLDMEMBER for what they are describing as "The third and final installment in the popular and successful AUSTIN POWERS franchise" on their publicity site right now. Before you go nuts in the Talk Back ranting about parody being protected under the law, understand that this wasn't something decided in open court. New Line could still fight this if they wanted, and they'd most likely win. This is a ruling from the MPAA, which is the arbiter between studios in matters like this, and which must clear all titles used by the major studios.

New Line won the right to use THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME as the title of the second POWERS film, so why did they lose this time around? Was it because they didn't file the paperwork regarding the disputed title before releasing promotional materials to the public like posters and trailers? The MPAA can be notoriously pissy if they feel a studio hasn't followed procedure. Now that they've lost this ruling, I'm sure New Line is going to be very nervous about what else MGM could try to have blocked in terms of actual content of the film. What are they going to do with Mike Myers' new character, reportedly called Goldmember in the script? Will they have to reshoot any material involving him? How important is he to the story overall?

And what is this really all about? Is MGM just posing so they look strong as the company is put up for sale? Or are they pissed off at Myers for bailing out of the long-discussed PINK PANTHER remake, where they were hoping to have him play Inspector Clouseau? Personally, I think that's a miserable idea, and I'm glad they aren't making that movie. Peter Sellers will always own that character. Anyone looking to expand the PANTHER franchise would be wise to simply send the titular diamond on a world tour. Say to Hong Kong, where you might have Jackie Chan as a security guard. In any case, I feel like we dodged a bullet by having Myers walk away from the PINK PANTHER project, but MGM probably doesn't share my sentiments, and they could well be getting their licks in on Myers now that they have the opening.

Whatever the case, it seems foolish. MGM benefits from the existence of AUSTIN POWERS. The mere fact that Myers makes fun of Bond movies keeps the real Bond series in the public eye, something that EON Productions seems unable to do at times. With BOND 20 coming, they could use the nudge in public perception, and doing this just makes them look petty and ill-spirited, whatever the initial motivation. Now I'm rooting for AUSTIN POWERS 3, just so it can stuff its success down MGM's throat at the end of the summer. I hate when this sort of corporate politicking screws up a movie that's already in front of the cameras. Hardly seems fair.

"Moriarty" out.

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