More Than Words: How Movies Are Named

People aren’t always sure why they’re drawn to a particular movie, but the title alone can have a huge impact on their decision on what to watch. Just as readers often judge books by their covers, movie viewers subconsciously judge movies by their titles. If the name is too common, too long, or just too weird, people will often pass the film on and see something else. How do filmmakers go about choosing the perfect title?

There are many factors to consider when naming a film. It is important that the title appeals to the right audience and still stands out from the rest. The film “Love Actually”, for example, clearly announces itself as a romantic comedy through the word “love”. At the same time, the use of a comma before “actually” gives the name a certain intrigue. Another example is Apocalypse Now. The word “apocalypse” tells potential viewers that this film is very action-packed, but the addition “now” makes the danger sound current and haunted. In other words, the name draws the potential viewer in. However, some movie titles don’t convey their genre well at all. “Cinderella Man” is a movie about boxing that sounds like some kind of fairy tale. The box office suffered as a result.

A film title should not only clearly define the genre, but also follow some important rules. It should only be a few words long, because a long name makes people yawn and is often difficult to remember. In addition, the title should be as clear as possible. If the average person needs further knowledge to understand the name, it’s probably not a winner. “JM Barrie’s Neverland” was replaced with “Finding Neverland” for this reason; Many people have never heard of author JM Barrie. After all, a title isn’t the place to convey deep meaning; that’s up to the film. Take “Anhedonia,” a potential title that was just confusing. Replace it with “Annie Hall,” the name the filmmakers actually chose, and suddenly the film has a certain familiar charm.

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The naming process is usually done after filming is complete so producers and directors know exactly what type of film they are releasing. In the meantime, everyone involved in the film refers to it with a so-called working title. But sometimes it happens the other way around as well. Midnight in Paris is an example: the title came first and Woody Allen used it as his vision when writing the screenplay. This is one way to ensure that the film and the title are perfectly aligned.

Naming movies is quite a business these days. Great film titles are so important that expert consultants who know how to produce good names are often hired specifically to select these important words. Finally, the process can be complicated. Aside from the appeal of the words, there are other aspects to consider such as: For example, a name’s success in online searches and a title’s similarity to new films being released by competing studios. Indeed, battles can ensue over certain names, and often a studio is willing to pay big bucks to secure the best title.

Every now and then there is an easy way out. Movies like Jane Eyre and the Harry Potter franchise clearly haven’t bothered to give a name, and with the advent of book adaptations and remakes, filmmakers often don’t have to consider the title at all. sequels such as “Nanny McPhee Returns” only required the addition of one word to the original title. In times of desperation, names can also be taken from other elements of the film. Consider “Sweet Home Alabama,” a title taken from the film’s main song. It conveys the heartwarming style of the film well and also gives the potential viewer an idea of ​​the setting. “Something’s Gotta Give” is another successful example of using a song name to create a catchy title. But at the end of the day, most producers and directors aren’t that lucky. Choosing a name for most films is often a painful process.

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So there it is: people are drawn to titles that are simple and unique, short and sweet. They also like to have an idea of ​​what to expect before they decide to give a film a shot. As more films are made, it becomes increasingly difficult to produce titles that stand out. But as long as there are creative minds, there will always be great films – with big names.

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