It looks like that case involving the name of Lee Daniels' upcoming film, The Butler, is finally tapering to a close—but the outcome is just about as ridiculous as the case itself.
If you don't recall, it all started earlier this month when Warner Bros. decided to be a huge asshole and claim that Daniels and The Weinstein Company couldn't use the title The Butler for the upcoming Forest Whitaker-starring film, because it was already the title of another movie—a short, silent comedy film that was released in 1916, to be specific. Technically, they were within their rights, but considering it's a project that hardly anyone knows of or even remembered existed, it's clear Warner Bros. pulled the stunt just to stifle any competitiont they could have from TWC.
TWC and Daniels appealed the case, claiming that because the movie had already been widely advertised as being called The Butler, a name change this late in the game could hurt ticket sales. WB, however, didn't back down, and the case went to the MPAA.
As Deadline reported last week, the MPAA ended up ruling on WB's side, but they did ultimately decide that not allowing Daniels and TWC to use the word "butler" in the title was going too far.
So, as of this past Friday, the new plan for the title: Lee Daniels' The Butler, with Daniels' name being 75% the size of "The Butler" on any promotional material. Should they go with this title—and it certainly seems like the best option if they don't want anyone to be confused about the sudden name change—they're required to change all digital material by July 26th, and all promotional print materials by August.
Hollywood is a strange place.
Lee Daniels' The Butler—or, The Butler, because let's be real, we're all still going to call it that anyway—is set to hit theaters on August 16th.