Yesterday we told you about a very strange lawsuit in which Warner Bros. was suing the Weinstein Co. over the name of its upcoming film The Butler because it was also the name of Warner Bros.' 1917 short film. Yup, a short film from almost 100 years ago that no one has really ever seen or heard of before. We imagine the real reason the studio suits are suing for a name change is a bit more complicated, political and all kinds of cat-fighty, but nevertheless Warner Bros. has apparently won the first round in court and the name must be changed. The Weinstein boys are never ones to bow out of a fight, however, and they're biting back with an appeal and a possible lawsuit of their own on the basis that the original lawsuit is completely batsh*t insane. Which it is.
The Butler, which tracks the life of Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker), a butler who served eight different presidents between the years of 1952 and 1986, was originally supposed to come out in just a few weeks on August 16, not too far away from a spot where The Help did great business back in 2011 (though keep in mind it was based on a very popular book). The Butler already has its posters, a trailer and a marketing plan, so this definitely sets it back... or does it? Could this actually have been a good thing? A blessing in disguise? Amidst a summer season dominated by blockbusters, The Butler was already facing some heavy marketing competition, but this lawsuit has thrown it in front of the public, sympathetically might I add, and the search for a new title even had a hashtag (#newButlertitles) that was trending on Twitter last night.
Sure, many of the titles were jokey in nature, but they still brought a tremendous amount of attention to the film. The lawsuit is so nuts that local news will definitely pick it up during a slow holiday week, and all of a sudden everyone will know about this movie. It's now an underdog. It's now a movie people will want to root for. Can the Weinstein Co. find a way to harness this newfound (and unexpected) attention and use it to its advantage? Guess we'll see. In the meantime, here are some of our favorite alternate titles thrown out on Twitter last night. Go check out the aforementioned hashtag to see more, and we'll let you know how this whole thing shakes out.