'The Butler' Will Now Be Called 'Lee Daniels' The Butler' - MPAA Rules On Title Arbitration

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by Sergio
July 20, 2013 11:16 AM
8 Comments
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Forest Whitaker as Cecil Gaines in Lee Daniels’ THE BUTLER

In yesterday's update, Harvey Weinstein had enlisted the civil rights leader trio comprised of Jesse JacksonNAACP president & CEO Ben Jealous, and National Chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality, Roy Innis, in his fight against Warner Bros. over the use of the title The Butler. And also, attorneys for both sides made further appeals in a hearing of the MPAA’s Title Registration Bureau.

Late yesterday, the MPAA ruled that The Weinstein Company can use some variation of the words "The Butler" for the title of the Lee Daniels-directed film which opens next month.

The film will likely now be called Lee Daniel’s The Butler.

Or "Oh That Butler," or "Butler of Steel," of whatever they want to call it.

We are now ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’ – we are thrilled,” said TWC spokeswoman Dani Weinstein

In addition, TWC will have to pay $400,000 (and more) in fines for violating the July 2 MPAA ruling, and they will also have to change all the marketing materials for the film to reflect the new title.

As Variety notes:

TWC will have pay a fine of $25,000 a day, dating back to July 2, or $400,000 for violating the initial ruling, and face stiffer penalties if it refuses to change its marketing campaign. The fine will increase to $50,000 a day if the studio fails to issue new digital materials (trailers, TV ads) by July 26 and new print materials by Aug. 2. TWC will also have to pay $100,000 to the Entertainment Industry Foundation and up to $150,000 to cover Warner Bros.’ legal fees. 

Interestingly, it's also being reported that TWC had already registered “Lee Daniels’ ‘The Butler’” as a title of the film, back in June with the MPAA. So apparently they were prepared for this ruling in advance.

And all this because Warners and TWC are having a spat over money from The Hobbit as I wrote about HERE.

Like I said, Hollywood is a cutthroat business.

Lee Daniels' The Butler opens in just under a month - August 16th.

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8 Comments

  • woh | July 20, 2013 8:15 PMReply

    I would have preferred "The Presidents' Butler" or "The White House Butler"

  • I Kill a Jew Dude | July 20, 2013 3:51 PMReply

    Hopefully the greedy Jews lose more money over this shitty, simplistic looking film.

  • michele | July 20, 2013 1:50 PMReply

    Or "Oh That Butler," or "Butler of Steel --lol I love it

    I also like How the Butler Got His Groove Back, Waiting to Butler,
    The Best Butler, Butler and Flow and wait for it, The Color Butler. They had tons of things to choose from

  • Ashleigh | July 26, 2013 4:37 PM

    I spit out coffee upon reading this. Hilarious!

  • Ghost | July 20, 2013 1:14 PMReply

    Really??? Funny I saw Fruitvile and the trailer for this film was shown with The Butler title.

    So if this was such an issue why were trailers for it even put out in the first place? I'm starting to winder was this just stunt to get attention for the film?

  • Wiggity Wiggity Wack | July 20, 2013 12:53 PMReply

    This is horrible, I hate when titles have the film makers name in it, anything would have been more universal than this, as you guys said "American Butler", "Presidential Butler", "Lifelong Butler", anything would be better! lol

  • LeonRaymond | July 20, 2013 11:56 AMReply

    For TWC this is the worst thing that could have happened to them in their minds. This as Petty as ever could be is akin to a White Woman bring a Black man home for dinner to meet the parents cause now the film becomes a "BLACK FILM" something TWC did not want other wise they could have solved this long ago. And Harvey way back when was the main proponent of the unfounded theory and rumor that "Black films don't sell over seas". @BOHEMIAN PRINCESS -Your so right on the money they could have added American and had the title American Butler it would have been even more powerful. Warner Bros made them selves look petty almost childlike. Was it that WARNER BROS. did want that title released to a film that had a large size of Black actors in the film, that's my question?

  • Bohemian princess | July 20, 2013 11:31 AMReply

    This is what happena when people have too much time and too much money. Couldn't they just have added on the word American or President and called it a day? They're still going to have to change their marketing and promotional material in order be in accordance with the ruling.

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