“The Butler” Title Dilemma Resolved

Time to fix the posters.

“The Butler” title problem solved! The MPAA ruled yesterday on the dispute between The Weinstein Company, which has the movie “The Butler” coming out in August, and Warner Brothers, which says that TWC is violating their claim to the title, thanks to their ownership of a 1916 comedy short called “The Butler.” WB had tried to bar TWC from using the words “The Butler” at all on the film, but in the end, the MPAA said that:

“TWC can use the word “butler” in the title, but all words in the title have to be of same size/prominence. If the company indeed decides to title the film Lee Daniels’ The Butler, though, “Lee Daniels” has to be 75% the size of “The Butler.”

TWC also has to pay a bunch of fine. You can read the MPAA decision here.

I guess they’ll end up just adding the name of the director Lee Daniels to the title. A point of grammar, though: it really should be “Lee Daniels’s The Butler,” not “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.” You add an “‘s” to make the possessive of a singular noun and “‘s” to make the possessive of a plural ending in “s,” There’s only one Lee Daniels, so you should treat his name like a singular noun, thus “Daniels’s.” I know, I’m the only one who cares about this, but it’s going to drive me crazy if I see posters everywhere with “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” on them.

“Whatever The Butler” opens on August 16th.

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