Tag: “The Butler”

“Lee Daniels’ The Butler” Gets New Posters Following Title Change

The Weinstein Co. has unveiled the first posters for Lee Daniels’ The Butler, four days after it was forced to change the title from The Butler.  Both posters show a white-gloved Forest Whitaker along with the new title (the poster above evoking the famous photo from the 1968 Olympics of Tommie Smith and John Carlos giving the black power salute during their medal ceremony).  TWC is releasing the film on Aug. 16.  The Motion Pictures Assn. of America (MPAA) ruled Friday that TWC could keep The Butler”as part of the title, but would have to change its marketing materials and pay $400,000 in fines for violating a July 2 finding that the use of The Butler as the title had violated MPAA rules because Warner Bros. owns rights to The Butler.

Lee-Daniels-The-Butler-poster__130723170234-275x308The ruling also required that, should TWC use Lee Daniels’ The Butler as the title, the “Lee Daniels” part of title had to be 75% the size of “The Butler.”  Lee Daniels’ The Butler is centered on African-American butler Eugene Allen, who worked in the White House during eight presidencies throughout the civil rights era. The film also stars Oprah Winfrey.  TWC’s fine of $25,000 a day, dating back to July 2, is based on violating the initial ruling. The fine will increase to $50,000 a day if the studio fails to issue new digital materials (trailers, TV ads) by Thursday and new print materials by Aug. 2.

article by Dave McNary via Variety.com; additions by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

“Middle of Nowhere” Director Ava DuVernay Takes on MLK Biopic “Selma”

Director Ava DuVernay arrives at Film Independent's 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival Premiere Of AFFRM & Participant Media's 'Middle Of Nowhere' at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live on June 20, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images)
Director Ava DuVernay arrives at Film Independent’s 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival Premiere Of AFFRM & Participant Media’s ‘Middle Of Nowhere’ at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live on June 20, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images)

Ava DuVernay is stepping into the director’s chair of Selma, an upcoming biopic of Martin Luther King Jr., according to Deadline.  Lee Daniels, the director of Precious and this year’s The Butler, had long been attached the project, which is one of several upcoming projects about the late civil rights icon.

Paul Greengrass (United 93) is helming Memphis, which recreates the final days of MLK’s life and Steven Spielberg is reportedly working on a movie about King’s admiration of Mahatma Gandhi.  When Daniels was due to direct Selma, it was reported that rock star Lenny Kravitz (who co-starred in Precious) has been cast in the pivotal role of Andrew Young. Now that DuVernay is taken over it is unclear in Kravitz will remain on board.

But her leading man very well may be a familiar face. Before dropping out, Daniels did cast British actor David Oyelowo (who appeared in Daniels’ The Paperboy) as MLK. Oyelowo won considerable critical acclaim for his performance in DuVernay’s indie film Middle of Nowhere, which won her the Best Director Award at the Sundance Film Festival last year.  In addition Hugh Jackman, Liam Neeson, Ray Winstone, Robert De Niro, and Cedric the Entertainer are all said to have been considering parts in the production.

article via thegrio.com

2013: A Breakout Year for Black Films

“FRUITVALE STATION” Ariana Neal and Michael B. Jordan star in a film based on the 2009 killing of a young man in Oakland, Calif. (Cait Adkins/Weinstein Company)

LOS ANGELES — Musical. Romance. Epic history. Social drama. Christmas comedy. After years of complaint and self-criticism about the shortage of prominent movies by and about black Americans, film companies are poised to release an extraordinary cluster of them across an array of genres in the last five months of 2013.

At least 10 new films will be released, including several awards contenders, from both independent and major distributors, like the Weinstein Company, Fox Searchlight and Universal Pictures. Even some of those who made this year’s movies have been caught by surprise.

“You tell me!” said the director and screenwriter Lee Daniels, when asked how so many black-driven films had materialized at once. His historical drama “The Butler” — based on a real-life White House butler who served eight presidents — is to be released by Weinstein on Aug. 16. “I’m working in my own bubble, I come up for air, and there they are,” Mr. Daniels said.

Black filmmakers say the wave of 2013 releases was built in large part on the creativity that has flourished on the independent-film circuit, which has become a laboratory of sorts for more prominent African-American-themed productions. Writers and directors have been sharpening their skills on indie films the last several years while waiting for big distributors to regain interest.

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