This story contains some of the pettiest studio squabbling I’ve even seen. By now, most people are aware of The Weinstein Company’s film The Butler, due to be released next month. However, apparently Warner Bros. had a little bit of a problem with them using that title, as they claim to own the rights to it from a silent short that was made back in 1916 with the same name.
In a rather big surprise, Warner Bros. won the claim, which will now force the Weinsteins to change the name of their film to something else, because it’s not like there are several films out there with the same titles that have nothing to do with one another already.
So why all the pettiness? Well, the main theory is that Warner Bros. is a little ticked off that The Weinstein Company challenged them over the title The Good Life, which they felt was too close to one of their titles, The Good Lie. What’s interesting though is that the company eventually dropped the challenge, probably because, like everyone else, they found it to be a very silly argument.
However, Warner Bros. is apparently not holding back, and with only a few weeks to go before it opens, The Weinstein Company is going to have to do a lot of scrambling when it comes to the marketing. Posters and trailers will have to be changed and sent out again whenever they decide on a new title for the film, which will obviously have to be decided on post-haste.
For those not familiar with what was formerly titled The Butler, it’s “a look at the life of Cecil Gaines who served eight presidents as the White House’s head butler from 1952 to 1986, and had a unique front-row seat as political and racial history was made.” It has quite the cast lined up too, including Forest Whitaker, John Cusack, Robin Williams, Oprah Winfrey, Lenny Kravitz, Liev Schreiber, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., Melissa Leo, and Vanessa Redgrave.
From the trailer, the film looks to be quite good, and with a cast as grand as this, what could possibly go wrong? Luckily, we don’t have too much longer to wait for it, whatever “it” ends up being called when it arrives in theaters.
The film previously known as The Butler hits theaters on August 16th.
What do you think of the dispute? What would you like the film to be called now? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to check out a new batch of stills in the gallery below!
(Source: The Playlist)