20 Movies Whose Names Were Changed Before Release - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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20 Movies Whose Names Were Changed Before Release

Film production is a multi-layered and complex process. It entails a series of evolutionary steps from ideation, scripting, shooting, to post-production. Among these transformations, perhaps one of the most crucial yet often overlooked, is the film title's metamorphosis. The film title plays an integral role in setting the tone, attracting audiences, and encapsulating the film's essence in a few words. Let's delve into 20 movies whose names were changed during late production stages.

  1. "Watch the Skies" to "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (1977)

Steven Spielberg's original title, "Watch the Skies," was taken from the final line in 'The Thing from Another World' (1951). It later transformed into the intriguing "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," perfectly framing its theme of alien contact.

  1. "Shoeless Joe" to "Field of Dreams" (1989)

"Field of Dreams," the iconic baseball fantasy-drama, was originally named "Shoeless Joe," mirroring the title of the novel it was based on. The film's name was changed to better evoke its mystical and dreamlike quality.

  1. "The Cut Whore Killings" to "Unforgiven" (1992)

Originally carrying the macabre title "The Cut Whore Killings," Clint Eastwood's subversive Western changed its name to "Unforgiven," reflecting the film's somber themes of guilt and redemption.

  1. "Wiseguy" to "Goodfellas" (1990)

Scorsese's gritty crime drama "Goodfellas" was initially titled "Wiseguy" after the source material. The title was altered to avoid confusion with a TV show sharing the same name, and the resulting "Goodfellas" preserved the street feel of the original title.

  1. "3000" to "Pretty Woman" (1990)

The initial title, "3000," referenced the sum paid for Julia Roberts' character's services in the film. The switch to "Pretty Woman" not only mirrored the film's romantic turn but also was a nod to the catchy Roy Orbison song.

  1. "Scary Movie" to "Scream" (1996)

Wes Craven's "Scream" was first titled "Scary Movie," which humorously described its deconstruction of horror clichés. Renamed "Scream," the title became a succinct, provocative hook.

  1. "Everybody Comes to Rick's" to "Casablanca" (1942)

This timeless classic initially shared its title with the play it was based on. Renamed "Casablanca," the filmmakers embedded the exotic location into the audience's mind.

  1. "Planet Ice" to "Titanic" (1997)

James Cameron's historical epic romance bore the secret production title "Planet Ice." Upon release, it became "Titanic," encapsulating the monumental scale and tragic grandeur of the film.

  1. "The Lunch Bunch" to "The Breakfast Club" (1985)

John Hughes' cult classic was initially titled "The Lunch Bunch." However, the more rhythmic "The Breakfast Club" better captured the early morning detention setting and the unlikely camaraderie among the characters.

  1. "Saturday Night" to "Saturday Night Fever" (1977)

The initial title, "Saturday Night," failed to encapsulate the energetic and rhythmic world of disco. With the addition of "Fever," the title became more vibrant, embodying the film's pulsating energy.

  1. "East Great Falls High" to "American Pie" (1999)

Originally named after the film's high school, the switch to "American Pie" added a layer of American nostalgia while also serving as a double entendre in line with the film's comedic raunchiness.

  1. "Twilight" to "The Lost Boys" (1987)

The 80s vampire cult classic, initially titled "Twilight," was changed to "The Lost Boys," likely to avoid any association with twilight’s romantic connotations and draw instead on the film’s Peter Pan-inspired vampire lore.

  1. "Incident On 57th Street" to "Carlito’s Way" (1993)

Brian De Palma’s gangster film, originally "Incident On 57th Street," was renamed "Carlito’s Way" to better focus on Al Pacino’s character’s path of redemption.

  1. "The Babysitter Murders" to "Halloween" (1978)

The original title, "The Babysitter Murders," was changed to "Halloween," situating the horror within a specific and universally relatable timeframe, thus amplifying the terror.

  1. "How the Solar System Was Won" to "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968)

The original title captured the grandeur of the film's concept but was rather verbose. The final title, "2001: A Space Odyssey," streamlined this into a more succinct, yet still intriguing, invitation to a cosmic journey.

  1. "Head Cheese" to "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (1974)

Originally named "Head Cheese," a bizarre title, the iconic horror film was renamed "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" to better convey its raw terror.

  1. "Not Tonight" to "Some Like It Hot" (1959)

Billy Wilder's classic screwball comedy initially went by the name "Not Tonight." The final title, "Some Like It Hot," captures the film's spirited humor and sex appeal more effectively.

  1. "Spaceman From Pluto" to "Back to the Future" (1985)

"Spaceman From Pluto" was deemed too silly and off-point by the director, Robert Zemeckis. "Back to the Future," the final title, effectively encapsulates the film's time-traveling concept.

  1. "Black Mask" to "Pulp Fiction" (1994)

Quentin Tarantino's classic initially bore the title "Black Mask," inspired by the pulp magazines Tarantino grew up reading. However, "Pulp Fiction" better reflected the film's homage to the pulp noir genre and story structure.

  1. "A Boy's Life" to "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" (1982)

"E.T." was initially called "A Boy's Life." The final title, "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial," emphasizes the captivating story of the alien who befriends a young boy.

The shifting sands of film title changes offer a compelling study of the industry's creative process. While a film title may seem a small part of the entire package, its importance cannot be understated. It forms the film's first impression and can set the tone for the whole cinematic experience. These examples illuminate that finding the right title is a journey unto itself, a narrative as intriguing as the films it represents.

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