Warner Bros. Has a Problem with the Weinsteins’ ‘The Butler’

Credit: The Weinstein Company

One of this summer’s most highly anticipated movies is the Weinstein Company’s The Butler. Starring Forest Whitaker, the film tells the story of Cecil Gaines, a man who works as a White House butler during eight American presidencies, from 1952 to 1986. During his tenure, he witnesses countless important events in 20th century U.S. history from a highly unique perspective. But the historical drama may be facing some turmoil. According to Deadline, Warner Bros. is attempting to prevent Harvey Weinstein from using the title The Butler, claiming that it posseses the sole rights to the title because of a 1916 silent comedy by the same name.

With The Butler‘s August release date fast approaching, this matter seems to have arisen oddly late in the game. There is reportedly a great deal of “outrage” at the Weinstein Company, and we aren’t surprised: the only logical response to this situation is, “WTF?” Has anyone actually seen this silent comedy The Butler? Isn’t this new movie supposed to be an inspiring tale about adversity and American history? Why are you trying to bring everybody down, Warner Bros.?

The Butler is based on the true story of Eugene Allen and also features such heavy-hitting stars as Oprah Winfrey (in her first major film role since Beloved in 1998), John Cusack, Jane Fonda, Robin Williams, Melissa Leo, Cuba Gooding Jr., Mariah Carey, Alan Rickman, Vanessa Redgrave, Liev Schreiber, James Marsden, Minka Kelly, and Lenny Kravitz. 

With such an all-star cast and fascinating subject matter, The Butler promises to be one of the best biopics of 2013. Warner Bros’ claim is fairly absurd, but it could have serious implications for the movie. Whatever its title may be, we’re excited to see the film. After all, what’s in a name? That which we call The Butler by any other name would be just as great.

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