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By Devin D. O'Leary

OCTOBER 27, 1997:  A battle is brewing in movieland, and this one is shaping up to be a doozy. On the eve of releasing its 18th James Bond adventure Tomorrow Never Dies (set for a Dec. 19th release), MGM was hit with the news that Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. plans to start releasing its own series of Bond flicks. The legal details of this one are pretty hard to follow. Basically, it boils down to this: A chap named Kevin McClory wrote and produced Thunderball back in 1965 and--because of some big lawsuit--won the rights to all characters portrayed in that film. It was under this strange loophole that Warner Brothers' 1983 Bond flick Never Say Never Again was produced. McClory has now hooked up with Sony, and the studio is jumping ahead with plans to start filming its own 007 adventures. The last Bond film Goldeneye made some $350 million worldwide for the struggling MGM studio. Expect plenty of legal fireworks to fly on this one before we see competing Bond films in the local cineplexes. ... Alaskan singer Jewel will be the next pop diva to make the leap to the big screen. Jewel (owner of the world's sexiest crooked teeth) will star in the upcoming Civil War drama (!) To Live On for director Ang Lee (The Ice Storm). Producers are talking to Matt Dillon in hopes of landing him for the other lead role. Weird. ... By the way, if you're one of the antsy entrants, I'll be announcing the winners for our Fall Movie Trivia quiz next week (just wanted to give everyone plenty of time to get those entries in).

film section e-mail: devin@alibi.com

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