“The Butler” naming fight continues

Lee Daniels (“Precious”) is in desperate need of a hit. The director of that all-star flop “The Paperboy,” producer of the flop “Tennessee” and director-producer of the embarrassment “Shadowboxer” (two OScar winners humiliated by that mess) would LOVE to get his hands on the Janis Joplin bio-pic that is making the rounds as a project to be.

But “The Butler,” the story of a servant who serves eight presidents and lives long enough to see lynchings and Jim Crow end, the Civil Rights movement and Barack Obama in the White House, has been tied up in MPAA negotiations with Warner Brothers over the rights to the name — which WB says it owns, since in 1916 a silent comedy with that title is in their back catalog.

That the MPAA agrees with this nonsense is the stuff of eyerolls. That Warners bases its claim on that title based on a movie that few among the living have seen is a hoot. I chatted with a waitress the other night who was shaking her head over “Man of Steel,” but who has never seen the Christopher Reeve “Superman” movies. People don’t watch old movies. Period.

The extra attention won’t hurt the film. which is coming out awfully soon. A little extra buzz for star Forest Whitaker, et. al., cannot hurt. Daniels needs this movie to open to decent reviews and a bit of box office, otherwise his “Precious” bounce will have been squandered.

Maybe it’s personal — WB folks hating the Weinsteins.

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
This entry was posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to “The Butler” naming fight continues

  1. laurence207 says:

    I know that i’m the uneducated one here and i’m sure that i’ll get a thrashing from you as soon as you reply but but people do watch old movie. Now,granted Only some people watch movies as the restof America doesn’t have the attention span but I found that line to be sub-par. Then again your not exactly my favorite citcic in the world so i’ll I admit that I wasted my time coming over here to whine against you.ut still.

    well,Goodbye and ignore me if you like and continue reviewing even if it annoys me!


    • laurence207 says:

      sorry for bing a useful idiot up there.

      • laurence207 says:

        sorry for these illiterate comments.And while I still stand by the points I made up there not too long ago, I also think that while i’m not exactly the biggest fan of you you still deserve better.Which is why I made this apology of sorts . so congratulations on your long career and the next time I feel the urge to argue i’ll try to do in a more cultured and literate way.

    • No, they don’t. Go back more than ten years, and the movie doesn’t exist. When I saw the last Indiana Jones movie, I interviewed audience members leaving the theater. Scores of people under 20 had never seen the original.

    • Chris Meade says:

      You are a great critic.

  2. Chris Meade says:

    and if you didn’t reply to me id be fine with that.

Comments are closed.