It looks like neither party is backing down when it comes to the fight over the title of the upcoming movie "The Butler."
As we reported yesterday, Warner Bros. challenged The Weinstein Company's usage of the title, which is also the name of an old short film that is part of the studio's library. Now the MPAA has ruled in favor of Warner Bros., which would require TWC to change the title of their star-packed period piece before its August 16 release date -- that is, if Harvey Weinstein isn't successful in his appeal.
Digging his heels in, the movie mogul has hired David Boies to represent his company in its fight for the right to "The Butler." Boies previously represented Weinstein in his case against the MPAA over its R rating of "Bully," a brouhaha that led Weinstein to publicly state that the company was "considering a leave of absence [from the MPAA] for the foreseeable future." Boies is best known for leading the charge against Prop 8 along with Ted Olson, as well as representing Al Gore in Bush vs. Gore. Suffice it to say, he's a formidable lawyer.
"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," Boies said in a statement. "The award has no purpose except to restrict competition and is contrary to public policy."
It won't be the end of the world if TWC's appeal gets rejected: Plenty of movies change their titles before release and go on to do very well critically ("Annie Hall," "Boys Don't Cry") and financially ("The Last Action Hero," "Pretty Woman"). However, that doesn't mean it's not a hassle to overhaul branded marketing materials only a month before a movie is due in theaters.
[via Variety, THR]