OWN will be able to air “Lee Daniels‘ The Butler,” which stars its chairman and CEO Oprah Winfrey, before any other non-premium cable network.
Winfrey’s cable network has licensed the first broadcast window behind pay television beginning in 2017.
The Weinstein Company film, which opened nationwide on Friday, Aug. 16, spent three straight weekends at No. 1 and recently surpassed $100 million at the box office.
“OWN is the ideal broadcast home for this film, which has had such a tremendous response from theatrical audiences,” said the Weinstein Company’s co-chairman Harvey Weinstein in a statement. “It’s been an honor to work alongside Oprah Winfrey, whose performance and support on the picture have been second to none, and we’re thrilled that her network has come on board.”
The film tells the based-on-real-life story of a White House butler, Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker), who served seven American presidents over three decades. Over the course of that time, America went through several dynamic changes, and the film depicts them through Gaines and his family’s experiences.
Formerly titled simply “The Butler,” TWC was forced to change the title due to a highly publicized dispute with Warner Bros. In July, the MPAA’s Title Registration Bureau ruled that TWC couldn’t use the title “The Butler,” because it’s already the name of a 1916 Warner Bros. short film. TWC’s appeals were rejected by the bureau.