The widely publicized title dispute over The Weinstein Company’s upcoming film, The Butler, and Warner Brothers (who had a silent short film of the same name from 1916) has come to an end. The result of their conflict leaves TWC with a new title: Lee Daniels’ The Butler. Following the verdict determined by The Motion Picture Association of America, co-chairman Harvey Weinstein had this to say:
“We are thrilled this has all come to an end and has been resolved. The MPAA’s overturning of their original decision to now allow the use of ‘butler’ in the title is a victory for Lee Daniels, the film’s 28 investors who believed in it, America’s greatest attorney David Boies, and especially in the memory of my friend and the film’s producer Laura Ziskin. Now we can focus on the importance of Lee Daniels’ film, the amazing performances by Forest, Oprah and the incredible cast who spent countless months bringing this story about American history and civil rights to screen.”
In the end, doesn’t it seem like WB is the one who came off the real loser in this issue? It seems rather petty that WB would not allow TWC to use the same title they used in a short film from nearly 100 years ago, especially being that few people even knew the film existed in the first place. Weinstein’s argument that WB was trying to use this altercation as a way of extorting his small percentage of The Hobbit trilogy makes it all the worse. WB has, of course, denied this claim, but it feels like Harvey has come out on top once again, doesn’t it?
Where do you side in this battle over the film title?