On-screen title vs. film's real title.

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Bill GrandPre, Jul 23, 2005.

  1. Bill GrandPre

    Bill GrandPre Cinematographer

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    So I was just browing IMDB and I get to the page for "A.I. Artificial Intelligence". On their site, which is utilizes user-submitted information, the film is called "Artificial Intelligence A.I.". Now, if I remember correctly, the title screen on the movie does begin with the words "Artificial Intelligence", the lower-case letters fade out and the capital "A" and "I" get closer together to form "A.I." I understand that the words "Artificial Intelligence" appear on-screen prior to the initials but it's a known fact that the film was written, produced and advertised as "A.I. Artificial Intelligence". I have no desire to ever see "Alien vs. Predator" again but I think something similar happens with that title screen and, of course, it is now listed as "AvP: Alien vs. Predator" on IMDB. My whole point is that some people slavishly adhere to the technicality of unusual title design. Take "Apocalypse Now" for example. There is no title card on the film, the title only appears written on a rock towards the end. Take "Batman Forever" for example. The word "Batman" appears nowhere on the title screen, it is replaced by the Batman symbol and the words "Forever" appear across it. IMDB wisely lists the film as "Batman Forever" but some anal-retentive user still had to include "Forever" as one of the film's alternate titles. Another example is "Seven". The title screen cleverly uses the number "7" in place of the letter "v" and I see someone casually discussing the film on the internet and I see that they write it out like "Se7en" and I almost cringe to imagine the person going to the trouble to hit "7" instead of "v". This may be a whole other ball of wax, but Paul Thomas Anderson's "Hard Eight" is listed on IMDB as "Sydney", which was the film's original title. PTA has said that he personally prefers "Sydney" as a title but let's face it, the film was released as "Hard Eight". So, who's with me? An unusual title sequence or a director's original wishes don't always apply to the reality of the situation. If you go into a video store with a list of "Forever", "nameless vietnam film", "Se7en", "Sydney", "AvP: Alien vs. Predator" and "Artificial Intelligence: A.I." you probably aren't going to be able to find them.
     
  2. Jay Pennington

    Jay Pennington Screenwriter

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    In...? You've provided several examples of title discrepancies but I'm not clear on what we're being asked to support. [​IMG]

    But here's one for your list: Independence Day being referred to as "ID4".
     
  3. Bill GrandPre

    Bill GrandPre Cinematographer

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    I'm just saying that a film can utilize an interesting title sequence without actually changing the title or setting any of the wierdness I mentioned in stone. "Artificial Intelligence" may appear on-screen prior to the letters "A.I." but that doesn't change the film's title in reality. I'm just suggesting that viewers use a little common sense rather than running off to IMDB to "correct" a movie's title and I was curious to see other people's thoughts on the matter.
     
  4. Dustin Elmore

    Dustin Elmore Stunt Coordinator

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    The other titles mentioned are really only Aliases. The site isn't nessisarily stating they are official titles. And it works both ways. When the sequel to X-Men was released, the marketing of the film called it X2: Mutants United. This is in fact not the title of the film at all, as was made clear by the director. There is no subtitle, the film is simply "X2". The point being that the Advertising material is just that, advertising. It doesn't affect the official title of the film. This happens a lot with "initials" titling, like T2 and MI-2. I agree that unique title sequences don't have any real meaning, they are just artistic expressions. Usually the Official Title will be the last thing displayed at the end of a film's credits. (all of this only really applies to modern films, as most older movies had to obey stricter rules for crediting by various hollywood unions.)
     
  5. DavidPla

    DavidPla Cinematographer

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    I agree with you 100% Dustin. The titles in the movies themselves ARE the ACTUAL titles.
     
  6. Richard Kim

    Richard Kim Producer

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    From the IMDB:



    http://www.imdb.com/help/show_leaf?titleformat

    Another title I can think of is Ghostbusters. In the actual film, the title is shown with the word 'Ghost' on top of the word 'Busters." Hence in the IMDB, it's listed as Ghost Busters (1984), even though the most common spelling is with 'Ghost' and 'Busters' together as one word.

    The same example can be seen in the BBC miniseries of "The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy", even though the book and the movie is spelled "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."
     
  7. Kirk Tsai

    Kirk Tsai Screenwriter

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    One I can think of is Superman, which most of the times has "The Movie" tagged right along in the advertising material.
     
  8. Bill GrandPre

    Bill GrandPre Cinematographer

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    IMDB acts as if it uses the original technical title but I can think of a few cases where it's wrong. "The Evil Dead" premiered as "Book of the Dead" on October 15, 1981 to a paying audience yet it appears on IMDB as "The Evil Dead".


    Like I said, "Apocalypse Now" blows this way of thinking out of the water. Francis Ford Coppola didn't want the title to appear onscreen but it's not as if he didn't want the film to have a title. As for "A.I.", I still think it's only inventive title design and I maintain that it was never the intention of Steven Spielberg to change the title of the film. I can't think of a single instance of Spielberg referring to the film as "Artificial Intelligence A.I."
     
  9. Richard Kim

    Richard Kim Producer

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    Actually, "Apocalypse Now" does appear as grafitti later on in the film.
     
  10. DavidPla

    DavidPla Cinematographer

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    He also refers to "Temple of Doom" and "Last Crusade" as "Raiders 2" and "Raiders 3" respectively. Doesn't change what he put as the titles in the films.
     
  11. Mark Hawley

    Mark Hawley Second Unit

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    Here's a couple of title descrepencies:

    Army of Darkness is technically Bruce Campbell vs. Army of Darkness.

    Die Hard 2 was heavily promoted as being Die Hard 2: Die Harder.
     
  12. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

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    I don't know that I have thoughts on this one way or another, but I remember noting this policy in regards to The Talented Mr. Ripley, where several adjectives are used before it settles on Talented. IMDB lists the complete title as having all those adjectives in place.
     
  13. Bill GrandPre

    Bill GrandPre Cinematographer

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    I wasn't familiar with this one, but a quick trip to IMDB shows "The Mysterious Yearning Secretive Sad Lonely Troubled Confused Loving Musical Gifted Intelligent Beautiful Tender Sensitive Haunted Passionate Talented Mr. Ripley". This is just ridiculous. That is not the title of the film, it's just inventive title design. By the reasoning that would consider a movie to be called "The Mysterious Yearning Secretive Sad Lonely Troubled Confused Loving Musical Gifted Intelligent Beautiful Tender Sensitive Haunted Passionate Talented Mr. Ripley", the correct title of "Apocalypse Now" would include EVERY SINGLE WORD VISIBLE THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE FILM since there is no "title sequence" to speak of an the words "Apocalypse Now" appear written on a rock with no fanfare or indication that they are any more significant than anything else in the film. Anyway, if any "title" proves my point, it's "The Talented Mr. Ripley". There is absolutely no way that director Anthony Minghella wanted anyone to interpret that ridiculously long list of adjectives as the title of the film itself. It may be what "the director intended you to see while watching the film" but that doesn't mean it's what the director wanted the film to be known as. My whole point with this thread is an appeal to resort to common sense when recognizing what a film's actual title is. At the very least, it makes me laugh to think of some anal-retentive geek transcribing the "complete" title of "The Talented Mr. Ripley".
     
  14. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    Gotta go with Bill here. Say if the director uses lower-case letters only, or upper-case only, in the "title sequence", does that mean the title thereafter must always be in lower- or upper-case only lettering? Surely not.

    Sometimes the upper-case letters are indeed required, if it's an acronym (e.g. M.A.S.H.; or should that be M*A*S*H?), or lower-case only for some specific reason (though examples elude me at this time), but generally don't we just use title case?

    Going with the Talented Mr Ripley argument, the full name of Star Wars should then be "A Long Time Ago, In A Galaxy Far, Far Away... Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope; It is a time of civil war etc..."

    I don't think so. [​IMG]
     
  15. DavidPla

    DavidPla Cinematographer

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    Why doesn't it make the title of the film? Because it's too long? No one ever says, I'd love to see "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb". It's shortened to "Dr Strangelove" but that doesn't change it's "official title". I understand what you're getting at that the title is simply "The Talented Mr. Ripley" ... but what's to say that IS what is intended to be the "official title"? What makes "marketing" materials more right than the actual films themselves? Is "Raider of the Lost Ark" now "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark" because subsequent materials tell me so? If they re-release Jaws and decide to add a subtitle to it, is that the new title to the film ... "Jaws: The Shark"?

    I think this argument can go both ways. I most definitely see your point of view and "The Talented Mr. Ripley" title does bring up a good point. But it also goes the other way as well in some cases. I mean, what if we are about to watch a film but have no marketing materials to tell us what we are about to watch. How do we go by knowing the name of such film?
     
  16. Sean Laughter

    Sean Laughter Screenwriter

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    Well, where does this all leave the American remake of "The Ring" which not only does not have any opening titles, but does not include the title anywhere . . . unless it's somewhere in the final credits and I missed it.
     
  17. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    I think the title for The Ring is included in icon form during the customized Dreamworks intro. Not the actual words 'The Ring', but the circle shape. And the title does show during the credit sequence, in plain form, before the mass of credits start scrolling. I think it's after the actor and director's name show.

    Edit: I remember one film, Search and Destroy, had the opening credit sequence in the middle of the film. It was like after 45 minutes of film had gone past. Very strange.

    As for titles, there are lots of marketing influenced official and unofficial titles. Even the Clonus Horror has Parts as a title, although the DVD omits this.
     
  18. Steve Phillips

    Steve Phillips Screenwriter

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    Cool thread.

    SUPERMAN (1978) and BATMAN (1966) are good examples. There is no "The Movie" in the actual title.

    Another big one (for TV) is "Mary Tyler Moore". That's the actual on-screen title of her famous sitcom, yet people always refer to it as "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" for some reason.
     
  19. DavidBC

    DavidBC Second Unit

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    I may be way off base here, but wouldn't the title that the movie is copyrighted under be the "official" title?
     

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