The Weinsten Co. is required to rename the Lee Daniels-directed movie after losing an arbitration case to Warner Bros.
"The Butler", director/writer Lee Daniels' upcoming movie which is headlined by Forest Whitaker, apparently will be released in theaters under a new name. Variety reports that Warner Bros. has won the rights to the title. Therefore, the Weinstein Company needs to find a new title for the White House drama.
However, TWC is fighting back. Brushing off the ruling which requires it to remove the word "Butler" from any promotional effort for the film, the studio has appointed attorney David Boies to handle an appeal and possible lawsuit against WB, which has claimed protective rights to the title because of its ownership of a 1916 silent comedy short of the same name.
"The suggestion that there is a danger of confusion between TWC's 2013 feature movie and a 1917 short that has not been shown in theaters, television, DVDs, or in any other way for almost a century makes no sense," says Boies in a statement. "The award has no purpose except to restrict competition and is contrary to public policy."
Set for an August 16 release in the U.S., "The Butler" introduces Whitaker as an African-American servant named Cecil Gaines who worked in the White House during eight presidencies. It is based on Wil Haygood's Washington Post article, titled "A Butler Well Served by This Election".
It also stars Oprah Winfrey and Robin Williams among others.