*Here’s one for The Weinstein Company, who has been cleared to utilize the name “The Butler...” in the title of their movie IF it is accompanied by additional verbiage such as, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” or “The White House Butler.”
This from The Motion Picture Association of America, which overturned a previous ruling Friday. The movie title has been in dispute with Warner Bros., according to a filing obtained by TheWrap.
However, the MPAA upheld its decision that The Weinstein Company could not use the original title of the film, “The Butler.”
The MPAA faulted The Weinstein Company for “continuous use of the unregistered title ‘The Butler’ in willful violation of the TRB rules” and said the company is “permanently prohibited from any use of the title.” The Weinstein Company will have to pay $400,000 to the Entertainment Industry Foundation for its violations, an additional $100,000 to the EIF and pay up to $150,000 to Warner Bros. for legal fees.
If The Weinstein Company does not comply with the ruling, it will have to pay $25,000 each day until it does.
The Weinstein Company is expected to use one of the two approved titles, according to an individual with knowledge of the dispute. If the company does use an alternate title with the word “butler,” all of the words in the title will have to be of a similar size. For example, if The Weinstein Company calls it “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” the words “Lee Daniels” must be at least 75 percent as large as “Butler.”
“The Butler” uses the story of the White House’s head butler (Forest Whitaker) as a way to examine the social and political turmoil of the last century. It’s a true story. The butler, whose name was Cecil Gaines, served eight presidents from 1952 to 1986. The star-studded cast includes John Cusack, Robin Williams, Oprah Winfrey and Jane Fonda. Lee Daniels (“Precious”) directs. It opens on Aug. 16, 2013.
The title dispute has caused headaches for The Weinstein Company’s marketing campaign. While it waited for the final ruling, the studio was barred from using the title “The Butler” in any promotional material or marketing. If it violated those rules, it faced a penalty of a $25,000 per-day.
Read more at theWrap.