Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Weinstein 'shocked' by Butler fight

Harvey Weinstein can't believe the dispute over The Butler film title

Harvey Weinstein has revealed his surprise at the title dispute about The Butler between his production company and Warner Bros.

The MPAA's Title Registration Bureau has ruled that The Weinstein Co cann't use the title for Lee Daniels' upcoming film because a 1916 silent comedy short in the Warner Bros library shares the same name. The Weinstein Co is appealing the ruling, ahead of the film's US release in August.

"I am shocked at what happened on The Butler. It's amazing to me how a 1916 short called The Butler is knocking out a movie that deals with civil rights. I have no idea what's going on with that," he told The Hollywood Reporter.

The 61-year-old producer continued: "They're not making another Butler. I don't know what they're doing or what their reason is."

Harvey - who is a chairman of The Weinstein Company with his brother Bob - added: "I think they'll see The Butler and they'll see Lee Daniels' great work and then I don't think they'll penalise the movie."

The Precious director's historical drama - starring Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey and David Oyelowo - is based on the true story of one man's tenure as butler at The White House during the terms of eight presidents.

John Cusack, Cuba Gooding Jr, Lenny Kravitz and Mariah Carey also make appearances.

Lee has written to Warner Bros to appeal for the right to use the title, saying: "I am so proud of this movie. If we were to change the title a mere six weeks before we open, it would most certainly hurt the film by limiting the number of people who would ultimately see this important story.

"I beg you to see it before you decide to force us to change the title," he added.

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