The Weinstein Company's historical drama, starring Forest Whitaker as real-life White House butler Eugene Allen, is facing a name change after executives at Warner Bros. launched a legal challenge over the title. Warner Bros. bosses claim they own the rights to the title because they have a 1916 comedy of the same name in their back catalogue. Daniels' film is due to open next month.
In a letter to Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara, Daniels offers him a private screening of the film and urges him to drop the challenge.
He writes, "I have spent the last four years of my life working on the film, 'The Butler,' and it is the proudest moment of my professional career. I am heartbroken as I write this letter to you ... I am so proud of this movie. Every member of our cast worked for almost nothing so that this story could be told with only our very small budget. If we were to change the title a mere six weeks before we open, it would most certainly hurt the film by limiting the number of people who would ultimately see this important story. This movie is not a blockbuster, nor did we intend it to be. We just wanted to tell the dark and beautiful story of our nation's racial history, where we came from, and how far we have come."
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