UPDATE, 9:04 AM: CBS This Morning‘s hosts read part of Warner Bros‘ statement on the air but not all of it. Here it is in full:
The Weinstein Company, as the New York Times has noted, is following an oft-trodden path of creating “well-publicized controversies” in order to promote their films by disseminating deliberate misinformation about the true nature of this dispute. The Weinsteins are sophisticated experts in this arena and three neutral arbitrators have penalized them for blatantly disregarding MPAA rules. It goes without saying that Warner Bros. has no issue with Lee Daniels’ film (never has) and fully supports the artistic goals of the filmmakers. The Weinsteins’ suggestions to the contrary are deeply offensive and untrue.
PREVIOUS, 8:24 AM: Warner Bros says that Harvey Weinstein is “following a well-trodden path of publicizing controversies”, and Weinstein says that Warners execs told him that the studio would drop its claim to the title The Butler if he gave them rights to The Hobbit .. and MPAA chief Chris Dodd thinks this has become “silly.” That was just part of what was said today on CBS This Morning in a segment on the ongoing fight over the title of the upcoming Lee Daniels-directed White House drama. The pugilistic Weinstein appeared this morning along with his lawyer David Boies, First Amendment attorney Floyd Abrams and Dodd after his TWC last week lost a title-registration ruling for its star-studded pic, which is set to come out August 16. Warner Bros says Weinstein can’t use the title because of a 1916 short film with the same title that WB had registered. Right now, TWC is being fined $25,000 a day in penalties over the matter. Also, despite Harvey’s comment on CBS, a WB rep tells me that there is “no correlation” between the battle over The Butler title and any rights to The Hobbit. Here’s the segment: