The movie studio claims victory in title dispute with Warner Bros.
Somewhere, the marketing folks at the Weinstein Company are celebrating. After being forced to pull down the film's website and Facebook page due to a naming dispute, The Wrap reports that the Forest Whitaker vehicle about a Black White House head butler has been granted the right to use the title Lee Daniels' The Butler.
The film, which is slated for an August 16 release, came under fire when ubiquitous studio Warner Brothers took issue with the original name, The Butler, which had previously been used for a 1916 film in their catalog. The Weinstein Company, having already released advertising with the old title, appealed the MPAA's original ruling that they must change the name, arguing that the original film had been out of circulation for decades. The new ruling clears the way for Weinstein to retain the name recognition it had already begun building. It approved two possible titles: Lee Daniels' The Butler and The White House Butler.
The movie follows Whitaker's character, Cecil Gaines, who was a butler at the White House through eight administrations. It also stars Oprah Winfrey, Terrence Howard, Mariah Carey, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lenny Kravitz, Yaya DeCosta and a slew of Hollywood A-listers. Lee Daniels (Precious) directs. Reverend Jesse Jackson, NAACP president and CEO Ben Jealous and Roy Innis of the Congress of Racial Equality all stood with the Weinstein Company in the naming battle.
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(Photo: The Weinstein Company)