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Harvey Weinstein baffled by The Butler legal drama

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Jul 09, 2013 | 6:57am EDT

Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein is "shocked" by the legal battle over his latest film The Butler as he can't understand why a rival studio would try to force him to change the title. The Weinstein Company chiefs have been embroiled in a dispute over Lee Daniels' historical drama as executives at Warner Bros. claim they own the rights to the name because they have a 1916 short film of the same title in their back catalogue. Warner Bros. bosses won an arbitration case last week (02Jul13) and The Butler is now facing a name change just weeks ahead of its planned August (13) release date. Director Daniels wrote an emotional letter to Warner Bros. heads imploring them to drop their challenge, and now Weinstein has weighed in on the case, insisting he can't understand the reasons behind the legal action. He tells The Hollywood Reporter, "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. They're not making another Butler. I don't know what they're doing or what their reason is." The movie, which stars Forest Whitaker as real life White House butler Eugene Allen, is due for release in the U.S. on 16 August (13).

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