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by Nigel M Smith
July 22, 2013 11:55 AM
6 Comments
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MPAA Overturns Its Original Ruling on 'The Butler' Title; Harvey Weinstein Responds

Harvey Weinstein has won, sort of. After going to battle with the MPAA after the organization sided with Warner Bros. and initially ruled that The Weinstein Company couldn't call Lee Daniel's latest "The Butler" because of an almost century old Warner Bros. short comedy that bears the same title, the MPAA has overturned their original decision. The film, which will in all likelihood be re-titled "Lee Daniels' The Butler,'" can now use the word "butler" in its title, but should they choose to add Daniel's name, the new ruling states that "Lee Daniels" must be 75% the size of "The Butler."

Also, according to the ruling, TWC will have pay a fine of $25,000 a day, dating back to July 2, or $400,000 for violating the initial ruling. That fine will increase to $50,000 a day if the studio fails to issue new digital materials by July 26 and new print materials by August 2.

Still Weinstein said, "We are thrilled this has all come to an end and has been resolved. The MPAA's overturning of their original decision to now allow the use of 'butler' in the title is a victory for Lee Daniels, the film's 28 investors who believed in it, America‚Äôs greatest attorney David Boies, and especially in the memory of my friend and the film's producer Laura Ziskin. Now we can focus on the importance of Lee Daniels' film, the amazing performances by Forest, Oprah and the incredible cast who spent countless months bringing this story about American history and civil rights to screen."

For more on the case go here.

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6 Comments

  • WILLIE | January 16, 2014 2:20 PMReply

    Who cares what its called; its racist drivel trash!

    No Academy Award? That's right!

  • Dee | July 30, 2013 6:21 PMReply

    The MPAA is nothing more than an elitist organization comprised of a bunch of racist, homophobic Neanderthals. Check out "This Film is Not Yet Rated" on Netflix to see just how perverse this group of snobs are.

  • Buddy | July 24, 2013 5:23 PMReply

    This whole thing was so ridiculous. According to Slate magazine, 'Film titles cannot be copyrighted, and although trademark and unfair competition laws can offer recourse, the litigant must convince the court that use of the name misleads or confuses the public.' Somehow I doubt a film released in 1916 is an issue, if more recent examples like 'Crash', 'Deep Blue Sea', 'Flawless', 'The Avengers', and 'Kicking and Screaming' weren't.

  • TP | July 23, 2013 11:09 AMReply

    What a couple of cynics... how about the idea that there is no way in hell anyone is going to confuse this movie with a 90-year-old film? Or that it's not reasonable for any title to be "off limits" for an indefinite period of time anyway? I'm rather disappointed that the fine still applies even though the MPAA somewhat reversed its decision. Harvey made the most of this, no doubt, but wouldn't you have?

  • Shavonne | July 23, 2013 2:31 AMReply

    What Harvey wants (most of the time), Harvey gets. It is kind of scary. Seriously.

  • Who cares? | July 22, 2013 3:09 PMReply

    Because someone on the production didn't do a proper title clearance report Harvey seizes on this desperate MPAA stunt which really only succeeds in a) wracking up massive legal expenses and fines on the production's dime (do you think Harvey is paying for any of this?), and b) sets precedent for Lee Daniels credit from now forward. Fantastic trailer, by the way.