TWC has brushed off the July 2 ruling, hired high-powered attorney David Boies to handle an appeal and issued several announcements to publicize its side of the story and the film. The hearing will take place at the Los Angeles offices of the Motion Picture Association of America.
The arbitration was conducted through MPAA’s Title Registration Bureau, which has long been used by the industry to regulate use of titles. Warner Bros. has accused TWC of operating in the TRB process “with breathtaking hypocrisy” to extract concessions from other subscriber companies in order to advance TWC’s own interests.
Warner Bros. won the MPAA ruling that declared that TWC violated WB’s title rights to “The Butler” due to the latter’s ownership of rights to a 1916 comedy by the same name — requiring TWC to remove the word “Butler” from its marketing, promotional and other material related to the film, or face fines of $25,000 a day for failure to do so. Daniels has made a personal appeal to Warner Bros. to keep the film’s title.
“The Butler” is centered on African American butler Eugene Allen, who worked in the White House during eight presidencies throughout the civil rights era. TWC plans to release the film on Aug. 16.