Lee Daniels makes plea to retain name for ‘The Butler’

Oscar-nominated director Lee Daniels has written a letter to Warner Bros.’ CEO Kevin Tsujihara in a request to halt attempts to change the title of his film, The Butler. In the letter published on Deadline.com, Daniels wrote: “I have spent the last four years of my life working on the film, The Butler, and it is the proudest moment of my professional career. I am heartbroken as I write this letter to you.” The Butler tells the story of Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker), an African-American who served as the White House head butler from 1952 to 1986, working with eight presidents. On Tuesday, Variety.com reported that Warner won an arbitration over the Weinstein Company, requiring the word “Butler” be removed from the title, marketing and other material connected to the film. The reason? Warner Bros. claim they own the rights to the title since they had a 1916 comedy short of the same name.

Not one to give up, Weinstein rejected the ruling and hired high-powered attorney David Boies. According to Daniels, changing the title would “most certainly hurt the film by limiting the number of people who would ultimately see this important story.” Daniels also made a request for Tsujihara to see the film in hopes that it could change his decision. “I strongly believe that if you do, you will root for it not just as film lovers, but as proud Americans,” he wrote. Daniels ended the letter referencing the support of his renowned cast, which includes Oprah Winfrey, Jane Fonda, Terrence Howard, John Cusack and Melissa Leo. Despite the drama over its title, the film is still scheduled for an August 16 release date. ~Alfonso Espina

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Comments & Discussion

  1. mitch klinger • July 5, 2013 @ 1:06 PM

    In this case….|The Butler” did it.

  2. Sparky • July 5, 2013 @ 6:41 PM

    Who the hell remembers the movie from 1916? Warner Brothers are just being DINKS!

  3. The Venus Factor Book • October 10, 2014 @ 1:27 PM

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