07/02/2013 11:22 am ET Updated Jul 02, 2013

'The Butler' Title Fight: Warner Bros. Wants To Block The Weinstein Company From Using Title For Lee Daniels Film [UPDATE]


The Weinstein Company has set Aug. 16 to release "The Butler," Lee Daniels' historical drama about a White House staffer (Forest Whitaker) who served through eight administrations. Oprah Winfrey, Robin Williams, John Cusack, Jane Fonda, Alan Rickman, James Marsden, Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr. and David Oyleowo all star in "The Butler," a title that may very well find itself among films mentioned for the 2014 Oscar race. Unless it changes titles.

According to Deadline.com, Warner Bros. has begun attempts to prevent The Weinstein Company from calling Daniels' film "The Butler" when it's released next month. The issues stems from the fact that Warner Bros. has a film in its library with the same title. HuffPost Entertainment reached out to TWC for comment on the title fight, but has not yet received a response.

UPDATE: According to Variety, Warner Bros. won its arbitration case against TWC, meaning "The Butler" may be forced to change its name. As Deadline.com reported, TWC is appealing the decision.

The original story continues below.

As Deadline.com notes, the tangle mostly amounts to a high-stakes example of gamesmanship between the two studios. Movies, of course, often have the same titles as other, previously produced movies (see the two different versions of "Gladiator," "Twilight," "Crash" and "Bad Boys" as examples).

"It was very annoying," "Kicking and Screaming" director Noah Baumbach told HuffPost Entertainment when asked about the Will Ferrell comedy "Kicking and Screaming," which Baumbach did not direct. "That was something that I was very conscious about [with my new film 'Frances Ha'] because an obvious title for our movie was 'Frances.' And there's a very good movie with Jessica Lange called 'Frances,' about Frances Farmer. It kind of pushed Greta and me to get more inventive with the title and, ultimately, I think to come up with a kind of great ending for the movie. So, I wish the filmmakers of 'Kicking & Screaming' had maybe done similar -- worked a little harder to figure it out."

Fortunately for Daniels, he won't have to worry about the ire of a fellow filmmaker. The Warner Bros. film with the title of "The Butler" came out in 1916.

"The Butler" is out in theaters on Aug. 16.

For more, head over to Deadline.com.

[via Deadline.com]

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