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

Shadow and Act By Sergio | Shadow and Act July 20, 2013 at 11:16AM

In yesterday's update, Harvey Weinstein had enlisted the civil rights leader trio comprised of Jesse Jackson, NAACP 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.
Forest Whitaker as Cecil Gaines in Lee Daniels’ THE BUTLER
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.

This article is related to: Lee Daniels, Forest Whitaker

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