July 6 Update:
This is an update to our earlier article on the fight between Warner Bros. and The Weinstein Company over the use of the title The Butler for Lee Daniels’s new film, due out at the end of next month.
Warner lawyers have responded to the Weinstein letters, citing this disagreement as the latest in what they describe as Weinstein’s chronic disregard for the Title Registration Bureau, the arbitrator in the case.
…as it has also done several times in the past, TWC has chosen to proceed in reckless disregard of the rules, apparently relying on a self-spun “Weinstein exception” to the rules whenever and wherever those rules do not solely favor TWC.
– Warner lawyer John W. Spiegel in his response to Weinstein attorney David Boies
This prompted a reply from Boies today claiming, among other things, that as Weinstein had previously stated, Warner had given verbal clearance to use the title and that Warner’s attempts to block the usage weren’t motivated by desire to protect its property but rather by a wish to get unrelated concessions from Weinstein.
Curiously, Boies also labled Spiegel’s letter “a press release masquerading as a lawyer’s letter” despite the fact that correspondence on both sides has rapidly become public (a response from Warner CEO Kevin Tsujihara to Lee Daniels’s personal plea being the exception in this whole fiasco).
It’s looking more and more likely that The Butler will have to undergo an 11th hour name change. We’ll keep you updated on any further news.