In one of the pettiest and most chickenshit parliamentary challenges in Hollywood history, Warner Bros. has successfully argued that (a) a forgotten 1917 short WB film called The Butler gives them MPAA-mandated ownership of the title, and that (b) the Weinstein Co. therefore has to come up with a new title for the Lee Daniels‘ film formerly known as The Butler.
In response Weinstein attorney David Boies has stated that “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. The award has no purpose except to restrict competition and is contrary to public policy.”
So let’s have some suggestions for new titles. The substitute title should convey the idea that an exacting, dutiful, conservative-minded White House butler (i.e., Forrest Whitaker) who has served under six or seven U.S. presidents is more than what he seems — a man of unrecognized importance and immense dignity whose life is historically profound on some level. Or something like that. Bad examples: He Who Polishes Silver. Good Night, Mr. President. Never Miss A Day. The Butler Did it. This is hard.