I had one immediate reaction to last night’s Wrap report by Joshua Weinstein that Warren Beatty and Paramount Pictures have parted company over his Howard Hughes movie, and that Arnon Milchan‘s New Regency will now finance the film. That reaction, which I muttered to myself as I sat in a Brooklyn club listening to Starfucker, was “hey…Peter Bart predicted this!”

Three months ago Bart privately remarked to a journalist friend that Beatty’s Hughes movie probably won’t happen at Paramount. “But it was just announced,” I said. “With [Paramount chief] Brad Grey talking about what a delight the script is.” My friend replied, “I’m just telling you what he said.” Bart was probably alluding to the Beatty issues that have arisen when he’s made films before — costly exactitude, extra expenses, complications, disputes, slower progress than anticipated and all the other things that occur when a filmmaker is ultra-careful and particular.

Two or three weeks later I asked Bart about this when I ran into him at an event. He shrugged and smiled and said he might have been mistaken, and the subject was dropped. But Bart was a Paramount production exec in the ’60s and ’70s (and later worked in a similar capacity at MGM and Lorimar) and dealt with Beatty directly, and to some extent obviously knew whereof he spoke.

“Warren’s script is quintessential Beatty, elegantly written and wonderfully entertaining,” Grey said last June when the Hughes-Paramount deal was announced. “It is our privilege to have one of the great artists in the history of the film industry come home to Paramount.”

Everyone keeps repeating that the Hughes movie” is expected to go into production later this year.” I’ll believe it when it happens.