Warners Wins Auction for 'T3' Distribution

Warner Bros., a late entry into the race for domestic distribution rights to "Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines," has beaten out competitors Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks SKG and Miramax's Dimension Films.

The auction was run by Intermedia, which is financing the $170-million movie, and by C-2 partners Mario Kassar and Andy Vajna, who will produce with Joel Michaels and Hal Lieberman.

According to Variety, the studio got the edge by pointing to the weight of the AOL Time Warner empire--and its success in making "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" a blockbuster. Warners also flaunted its clout with theater owners, which it said guarantees a dominant hold on theaters.

The film, for which Arnold Schwarzenegger is reported to be getting a $30-million paycheck, picks up the story a decade after the sequel when twentysomething protagonist John Connor reteams with his cyborg protector to battle the TX--an advanced model terminatrix. It will be directed by Jonathan Mostow ("U-571"). James Cameron, who directed the first two installments, decided not to pursue the project.

Principal photography is set for April, with release during the July 4 weekend in 2003.



Busey Arrested For Purported Abuse

Gary Busey, the Oscar-nominated star of 1978's "The Buddy Holly Story," was arrested and booked for investigation of spousal abuse after his ex-wife Tiani called to complain that the actor had left her bruised, authorities said Tuesday.

The actor was arrested at his Malibu home about 6 p.m. on Dec. 2, according to Sgt. Tim Youngern of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. After being booked at the Lost Hills station, he was released on $50,000 bond.

"Deputies observed bruises and her statement led to his arrest," Youngern said. "We are investigating. The bruises may not have been inflicted by him."

The couple's four-year marriage ended in divorce in June 2000. Busey could not be reached for comment.



Museum Decides It's a Van Gogh After All

Dutch researchers have unearthed what they believe to be the only painting of artist Paul Gauguin by Vincent van Gogh--a work described by the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam as "significant and fascinating."

"Man in a Red Hat" had been stored in the museum basement since 1973, thought to be a piece that Van Gogh had bought. But after additional exploration, museum officials say, they've proven that he painted it.

Spokesman Heidi Vandamme explained why it took the museum so long to ascertain authenticity. "We are undergoing a huge investigation into our collection and we are establishing a major catalog of his work," she told BBC News Online. "If a gallery has never had a Van Gogh and discovers one, it is a major find, but it is not too much for us."


Taubman Steps Down After Conviction

Former Sotheby's Chairman A. Alfred Taubman, convicted last week of price-fixing, announced Tuesday that he is resigning as chairman of the Michigan-based shopping center development company that was the original source of his wealth.

Taubman, 76, faces up to three years in prison when he is sentenced April 2 in federal court in New York on his conviction for plotting with rival Christie's to increase the firms' profits from the sellers of art, antiques and other valuables.


UC Irvine's Beall Center Makes a Change

Jeanie Weiffenbach, director of the Donald R. and Joan F. Beall Center for Art and Technology at UC Irvine, was laid off 13 months after the $1.5-million center opened. Weiffenbach, who also served as director and curator of the University Art Gallery, left her position Nov. 14.

University officials said Weiffenbach's leave was part of a reorganization in which the center will focus more on research and schedule fewer exhibitions.



"Pearl Harbor," riding the post-Sept. 11 wave of patriotism, set an industry record by selling more than 3.7 million double-disc DVDs to consumers in its first week on the shelves, according to Buena Vista Home Entertainment.... According to E!-online, "Stomp," the off-Broadway percussion extravaganza, will be made into an Imax film next year.... Tim Russert celebrated his 10th anniversary as the moderator of NBC's "Meet the Press" by signing a new contract to stay with the show through 2012, the network said Tuesday. Russert is also NBC News' Washington bureau chief.

Elaine Dutka

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