Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Hey Warner Bros.: Forget “The Butler”– What About “Little Man of Steel”?


Warner Bros. tells CBS This Morning today that The Weinstein Company is guilty of “breathtaking hypocrisy” in the battle over “The Butler” title.

But really: Warner Bros. has bigger title woes than their “The Butler,” 1916 short film so insignificant that they don’t even list it in their own archives.

How about “Little Man of Steel”? Larry Ziegelman’s short film is listed on the IMDB and is playing the festival circuit. In the short, Lois and Clark go condom shopping. Ziegelman– a freelance art director and filmmaker– tells me he even put the short on the web for free a week before “Man of Steel” opened he got 12,000 hits. He also says he made his film before he even knew the title of the current Superman film. Here’s the trailer:

“Little Man of Steel” Trailer from Larry Ziegelman on Vimeo.

Warner Bros. has also lived on “The Dark Knight” for the last decade. But there are several films called “The Dark Night.” And the big studio has gotten away with it. Where’s the shock, horror, outrage?

I do think corporate giant has gone too far. They say they are protecting a 1916 short film called “The Butler.” Well, that film, directed by Edwin McKim, basically doesn’t exist. Though it’s listed in the Internet Movie Database, “The Butler” is unavailable in any format of any kind. Forget VHS or DVD– McKim’s “Butler” isn’t anywhere in the archives of the Paley Center, for example. And it’s not listed anywhere in Warner Bros’ extensive archives. Indeed, search the Warner Archives for “Butler” and you’ll only find Rhett, from “Gone with the Wind.”

It’s time to give this up. Warner Bros. is fueling a fight they can’t win. And in the process, “The Butler” is getting millions of dollars of free publicity. Any minute now The Weinstein Company will announce a White House premiere for the first week of August. Is Warners going to stop a movie with that title from playing here? I doubt it.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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