General News

Harvey Weinstein wins permission to call new film Lee Daniels' The Butler

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Jul 22, 2013 | 9:17am EDT

Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and filmmaker Lee Daniels have been granted permission to call their new film The Butler, as long as they preface it with the director's name. The Weinstein Company chiefs faced a legal battle over Daniels' historical drama after executives at Warner Bros. claimed they owned the rights to the name as they have a 1916 short comedy of the same title in their back catalogue. Officials at the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) initially ruled Weinstein had to change the name of The Butler ahead of its August (13) release, but late on Friday (19Jul13), they reversed the decision and allowed the movie to be released as Lee Daniels' The Butler. However, the fight over the name has come at a price - The Weinstein Company bosses will have to pay $400,000 (£258,065) to the Entertainment Industry Foundation for continuing to use the title after the MPAA's initial order, reports Variety.com. They have been given until Friday (26Jul13) to pull all original trailers, posters and other promotional material bearing the simple title of The Butler or face further fines of up to $50,000 (£32,258) a day. They have also been ordered to cover Warner Bros.' legal fees, to the tune of $150,000 (£96,774). 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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