A battle betweenMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and New Line Cinema continued on Friday over the useof the word Goldmember in the title of the next Austin Powers movie which isscheduled to open on July 26.

On Jan 30, the MotionPicture Association Of America (MPAA) upheld its ruling to prohibit New Linefrom using Goldmember in the title Austin Powers In Goldmember, since New Line had not sufficiently cleared it withthe Bond rights holders MGM which owns Goldfinger. The MPAA ruling does not affect the use of thecharacter Goldmember in the film, just the title. Myers plays Goldmember aswell as three other characters in the film.

However, on Friday reportsin the Hollywood trade press emerged saying that MGM had approached New Line,offering to allow them to use Goldmember in the title, so long as New Lineoffered to move the upcoming Denzel Washington movie John Q away from its Feb 15 release date, leavingMGM's war picture Hart's War a free weekend. New Line said they declined.

On Friday morning, MGMissued a statement correcting reports which they said were"erroneous."

Jay Rakow, senior executivevice president and general counsel of MGM Studios, said: "For the record,Michael Lynne and Toby Emmerich of New Line Cinema approached executives of MGMon Friday, Jan 18, 2002, and offered to move the release date of John Q if that would resolve the title dispute overGoldmember. Contrary to press reports and statements that have been made by NewLine, that offer was initiated by New Line, not MGM, and was rejected by MGM asbeing inadequate consideration for what New Line has done. At all times, MGMmaintained that it would not resolve its dispute with New Line in the absenceof a substantial cash license payment by New Line at levels to what the Bondfilms customarily command from promotional partners, whether or not New Linewanted to fulfill its offer to move John Q as part of any settlement.."

"At no time," hecontinued, "did New Line ever make any monetary offer of any kind to MGM.The only other offers made by New Line to MGM consisted of offering theservices of Mike Myers to promote the ABC telecast of the original Goldfinger, as well as other promotional services of MikeMyers, and offering to attach trailers of the forthcoming James Bond film tothe Austin Powers film and the next instalment of Lord Of The Rings."

MGM unsuccessfullypetitioned the MPAA over the use of The Spy Who Shagged Me in 1999.