"But wait, isn't 'The Butler' that 1917 Warner Bros. movie?" said no one. Ever.
However, on the off-chance the short film WB made 97 years ago is the first thing that comes to mind when you think "The Butler," and not the upcoming Lee Daniels film that is already buzzing with Oscar bees, then we suppose this tussle has a smidgen of merit.
Variety reports Warner Bros. is all verklempt (ya givin' me agita!) over the name of the Weinstein Company's new film "The Butler," starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey, because it bears the same title as a little picture they made in 1917. So verklempt that the bigwigs at WB took the case all the way to the MPAA’s Title Registration Bureau to settle the sticky situation. The TRB ultimately sided with WB.
The verdict was that the “TWC made continuous use of the unregistered title in willful violation of the TRB rules." But TWC is giving this ruling as many f**ks as people who actually saw "The Butler" from 1917 (ahem, not many), and will appeal the decision.
“The suggestion that there is a danger of confusion between TWC’s 2013 feature movie and a 1917 short that has not been shown in theaters, television, DVDs, or in any other way for almost a century makes no sense,” David Boies, the attorney TWC hired to appeal the verdict, said. “The award has no purpose except to restrict competition and is contrary to public policy.”
Ding-ding-ding-ding! Let's get ready to ruuumble! We've got ourselves a big 'ole studio cat fight going on! Our money's on
Butler TBA (we just don't even know...)" stars Whitaker as Cecil Gaines, a butler who served the White House for eight presidencies. The film is based on the real life of Eugene Allen, who served as a White House butler from 1952 to 1986.
The movie is slated for an August 16 release, title or not.