28 films that changed their names to try to get more people to watch them

  • 28 films that changed their names to try to get more people to watch them

Films go through a vast chopping and changing throughout their production - from the screenwriter's initial idea all the way to release, loads of stuff gets added, changed or removed.

One of those is the movie's name, sometimes they're changed for the better, sometimes for the worst depending on the thoughts of the director, writer and most significantly, the studio executives who wonder whether the name needs to be more marketable or don't think the audience will understand the title.

So here are some films which started off with completely different names...

Hancock - changed from Tonight, He Comes

Originally, Tonight, He Comes was changed to John Hancock before settling on Hancock.

Prior to the film's release, marketing consultants attempted to persuade Sony Pictures to again change the title Hancock because it was too vague for audiences, suggesting alternatives like Heroes Never Die, Unlikely Hero, and Less Than Hero.

Did they get it right? Absolutely, Tonight, He Comes sounds like the name of a really rubbish horror B-movie.

The Switch - changed from The Baster

The 2010 Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman comedy was based on a short story named Baster, but execs changed the distinctive name to the very generic The Switch.

Apparently Jennifer Aniston wasn't terribly happy about the change.

Did they get it right? Jennifer Aniston was right, they've changed it from an unusal, eye-catching title into a generic rom-com name. For shame!

Tomorrow Never Dies  - changed from Tomorrow Never Lies

Originally titled after the media mogul creating tomorrow's headlines in advance, when an early draft of the script for Tomorrow Never Lies was faxed to MGM, the title had a typo.

The producers at MGM liked the titled so much, they went with Tomorrow Never Dies instead.

Did they get it right? Tomorrow Never Lies suits the theme of the film, Tomorrow Never Dies just sounds like a generic Bond movie (which is what it was).

Pretty Woman - changed from 3,000

Pretty Woman's original script was title 3,000 - after the amount Edward paid Vivian for the full week of her service, and was a dark drama about a drug addict prostitute trying to go clean.

Touchstone Pictures (owned by Disney) changed it to a romantic comedy, and the title was changed to Pretty Woman, after they used the Roy Orbison song in the soundtrack.

Did they get it right? Vivian's story has a bit of Disney magic to it (apart from all the prositution bit), calling it 3,000 makes it a bit bland and forgettable.

Edge of Tomorrow - changed from All You Need is Kill

Based on the Japanese book All You Need is Kill, Warner Bros. changed the name to Edge of Tomorrow after 'negative chatter' about the word "kill" in the title.

When the movie didn't fare well at the box office, they leant heavily on the 'Live, Die, Repeat' tagline, in a bid to adjust the title further to make it sound cooler and edgier for DVD and Blu-ray sales.

Did they get it right? They didn't even stick to their new name, so obviously they didn't have faith in that either. Maybe a mistake changing it in the first place.

Snakes on a Plane - changed from Pacific Air Flight 121

Initially called Snakes on a Plane, at one point, it was going to be named Pacific Air Flight 121, only to have it changed back to Snakes on a Plane at Samuel L. Jackson's request.

Jackson told an interviewer, "We're totally changing that back. That's the only reason I took the job: I read the title."

Did they get it right? Absolutely, would you have gone to see Pacific Air Flight 121?  Meanwhile, Snakes on a Plane does exactly what it says on the tin.

Back to the Future - changed from Spaceman From Pluto

Universal Pictures head Sid Sheinberg didn't like Back to the Future, and in a memo to director Robert Zemeckis stated that the title should be changed to Spaceman From Pluto.

Zemeckis turned to Steven Spielberg, who replied saying that everyone got a kick out of the 'joke memo'.

Sheinberg was too embarrassed to state that he was being serious and Back to the Future stuck.

Did they get it right? We're pretty sure that we wouldn't be getting all of those BTTF reruns at Christmas if it was named Spaceman From Pluto.

Alien - changed from Star Beast

Screenwriter Dan O'Bannon's draft title was Star Beast, but he was never happy with it.

When re-reading back the script, he noticed how many times 'alien' appears and realised it was the perfect title.

Did they get it right? The simple and clinical name makes it seem even scarier; whereas Star Beast sounds like it's going to be a man in a crap costume.

Hitch changed from The Last First Kiss

The working title of the Will Smith rom-com was named after a line delivered by Hitch to Albert.

The film's creators were worries that it sounded too much like a rom-com (despite being a rom-com) and would alienate male movie-goers, so changed it to entice more men to see it.

Did they get it right? Hitch isn't as mushy as The Last First Kiss, but it still wasn't fooling anyone into the cinemas.

2001: A Space Odyssey - changed from How The Solar System Was Won

The joke working title, How the Solar System was Won (after 1962 film How the West Was Won) and the genuine working title was Voyage Beyond the Stars.

In the end, "2001" was chosen as it is the first year of both the 21st century and the 3rd millennium.

Did they get it right? The indescript and perplexing title of 2001: A Space Odyssey only adds to the film's complexed story.

Goodfellas changed from Wiseguy

Based on Nicholas Pileggi's book Wiseguy, the film was lined up to be named Wise Guy.

Martin Scorsese discovered that a comedy film and TV series had been called Wiseguys, so they changed the name to Goodfellas to avoid legal issues.

Did they get it right? Goodfellas or Wiseguy, both names are great, and either would have suited this legendary film

Blade Runner - changed from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Based on Philip K. Dick's novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - the film was going to be named the same.

As well as that, Ridley Scott considered Android, Mechanismo, Dangerous Days, and finally Blade Runner for the title.

Once Blade Runner was chosen, Ridley Scott then decided he didn't like it, and tried to call the film Gotham City, but Batman creator Bob Kane wouldn't sell the rights to the name, so it returned to Blade Runner.

Did they get it right? Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is much less catchy than Blade Runner probably a change for the better


Predator - changed from Hunter

Then joke was that Rocky Balboa had run out of opponents on earth to beat and had to fight aliens, which screenwriters Jim and John Thomas didn't find funny, and wrote a screenplay on instead.

The film was originally called Hunter, before it was changed to Predator.

Did they get it right? We're going to say yes on this one, Hunter doesn't sound anywhere near as lethal and ruthless as Predator.

Field of Dreams - changed from Shoeless Joe

Based on W. P. Kinsella's novel Shoeless Joe, the film was made under the book's title, but executives changed the name to Field of Dreams.

Director and writer Phil Alden Robinson was against it, but when he called Kinsella to tell the news, the author explained that he wanted to call his book The Dream Field, but the publishers demanded it be Shoeless Joe.

Did they get it right? While the book was called Shoeless Joe, it would have sounded like the story of a down-on-his-luck hobo. Field of Dreams conjures up images of ghostly baseball players.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial - changed from A Boy's Life

Steven Spielberg was highly protective of his script and didn't it to be leaked, so actors had to read the script behind closed doors and the title of the film was A Boy's Life.

Did they get it right? While A Boy's Life was only a title to keep the story under wraps, if it'd have stuck, it would have made it seem like a lot blander of film.

Friday the 13th - changed from A Long Night at Camp Blood

The film featuring the murderous Mrs Voorhees and her son Jason was initially devised as just a title - A Long Night at Camp Blood.

Director Sean S. Cunningham was fixed on the idea of calling it Friday the 13th, but was wary of anyone already owning the rights to the title and trying to sue.

In the end it turned out all alright, unlike the teenagers of Camp Crystal Lake.

Did they get it right? A Long Night at Camp Blood is a great horror film name, but it sounds more like a middle-of-the-road horror, rather than a legendary horror series.

Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey - changed from Bill & Ted Go to Hell

Initially Bill & Ted Go to Hell, that name was scrapped by the marketing department and a softer (but no less bodacious) title was chosen instead.

Did they get it right? Sounding more like a horror film than a goofy comedy, the marketing team were onto the right lines when they nixed Bll & Ted Go to Hell.

Saturday Night Fever - changed from The Tribal Rites of the Saturday Night

The name The Tribal Rites of the Saturday Night was actually inspired from the title of a New York Magazine article.

The name was shortened to Saturday Night, before the Bee Gee's song 'Night Fever' was included on the soundtrack, which prompted director John Badham to merge both names into the title we know and love today.

Did they get it right? The Tribal Rites of the Saturday Night makes it sound more like a film about ancient warriors from far off lands, rather than a disco classic.

Blood Diamond - changed from Okavango

Originally titled after the Okavango Delta in Botswana (despite the film being set in Sierra Leone), the title was changed, presumably to be more eye-catching and evocative of the film's diamond smuggling and war torn drama.

Did they get it right? If it's Oscar-bait you're going for, Okavango may have pipped it. But Blood Diamond is much more provactive.

Return of the Jedi - changed from Revenge of the Jedi

George Lucas co-wrote the script with Lawrence Kasdan, who suggested that Return of the Jedi was "a weak title", so Lucas changed it to Revenge of the Jedi.

As is Lucas' meddling nature, he decided that revenge was not the way of the Jedi, so saved it for the (obviously far superior) Episode III - Revenge of the Sith.

Did they get it right? It's practically the same anyway. Revenge would have been slightly cooler, until the Sith came along and were actually revengeful.

American Pie - changed from Teenage Sex Comedy That Can Be Made For Under $10 Million That Most Readers Will Probably Hate But I Think You Will Love

When screenwriter Adam Hertz titled his script and sent it out to studios, he gave it the unnecessarily long title.

Once the film got picked up it was changed to East Great Falls High, then Great Falls, before settling on American Pie after Jim's unusual choice of sex toy.

Did they get it right? Absolutely! What would we have called it? TSCTCBMFUTMTMRWPHBITYWL? Hardly rolls off the tongue.

Scream - changed from Scary Movie

Wes Craven's '90s deconstruction of famous slasher films was initially named Scary Movie before Dimension FIlms head Bob Weinstein thought that despite the violence and horror, the film also had satire and comedy, so changed it to Scream - inspired by the Michael Jackson song of the same name.

Writer Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven thought the name was stupid, but both later admitting that it was probably for the better.

Did they get it right? Thanks to the actual Scary Movie parodies, we think Scream would be too goofy if it ended up being called that.

Unforgiven - changed from The Cut-Whore Killings

The 1992 Clint Eastwood western was developed under the titles The Cut-Whore Killings and The William Munny Killings before sense prevailed and it was given a much more acceptable and efficient title of Unforgiven.

It went on to win four Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director for Eastwood.

Did they get it right? "And the Oscar goes to The Cut-Whore Killings" doesn't work as well, probably changed it for the best, despite it being much less dramatic.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - changed from Head Cheese

While no official explanation lies in the bowels of the internet, the original title no doubt references the line "You could have dinner with us... my brother makes good head cheese! You like head cheese?" said by the bloodied hitchhiker that the group pick up, who turns out to be Leatherface's brother.

Did they get it right? Do you need to ask?

50/50 - changed from I’m With Cancer

The story of Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a 27-year-old cancer patient was initially going to be called I’m With Cancer, before the less offensive Live with It was picked and then finally stuck with 50/50.

Did they get it right? Yes - despite it being a Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt comedy, probably best to tread carefully given the subject matter.

While You Were Sleeping - changed from Coma Guy

The story of Sandra Bullock pretending to be a coma patient's fiancé, only to fall for his brother was initially to be called Coma Guy, before it was changed to While You Were Sleeping after the film's cheesy last line.

Did they get it right? They did, but how much would you have wanted to see Coma Guy if you thought it was a film about the lamest superhero ever?

Annie Hall - changed from Anhedonia

Director, writer and lead actor Woody Allen initially suggested the film be named Anhedonia - a psychiatric term for the inability to experience pleasure.

Also suggested from co-writer Marshall Brickman were It Had to Be Jew, Rollercoaster Named Desire and Me and My Goy.

Eventually the name Annie Hall was settled upon after the positive reaction from (an obviously normal-thinking) test audience.

Did they get it right? Annie Hall ranks pretty highly as a name, most people would have trouble remembering, and pronouncing Anhedonia.

Mean Streets - changed from Season of the Witch

Originally named after the psychedelic song from solo artist Donovan, Martin Scorsese changed his crime drama to Mean Streets after reading Raymond Chandler's essay "The Simple Art of Murder".

The quote read: "But down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid."

Did they get it right? Is this a teen horror with Neve Campbell? Of course it's not, which is why Season of the Witch would have been a terrible name for this gangster drama.

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