Movies that changed name

What ‘Pretty Woman’, ‘American Pie’ and ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ might have been called

A good movie title is often a key ingredient to box office success. Hollywood execs need to pitch it right to grab as many punters as possible. Therefore, it’s no wonder that films sometimes change title, but did you know what these movies could have been called?

Romance classic ‘Pretty Woman’ started life with the working title ‘3000’ which was the price Julia Roberts’ character charged for her ‘services’. Apparently, the numerical title confused audience members at test screenings who thought the film might be a futuristic tale about prostitutes from the moon. Director Garry Marshall was given a set of songs to choose a title from and plumped for the iconic Roy Orbison hit.

[Related feature: Silly foreign movie title translations]
[Related gallery: Movie poster mistakes]

Disney thought that us Brits would confuse their action-packed superhero blockbuster ‘The Avengers’ with the 1960’s British ‘spy-fi’ TV show of the same name. Therefore they swapped it for the awkward sounding ‘Marvel Avengers Assemble’ in one of the most ridiculed name changes since the Post Office became Consignia (and back again).

Pierce Brosnan’s second outing as 007 could have been called ‘Tomorrow Never Lies’ if it weren’t for a typo in an internal marketing memo. ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ was deemed to be more exciting and eventually made it onto the poster.

Most film fans will know that ‘Scream’ was originally called ‘Scary Movie’. It was canned because it sounded too funny. Who’d have thunk that the Wayans brothers would go and make a spoof horror movie with the rejected film title?

Will Smith rom-com ‘Hitch’ was initially written and sold with the title ‘The Last First Kiss’. Early market testing of the title proved it didn’t really appeal to men, which the filmmakers were hoping to help boost audience numbers, hence the overhaul.

Ridley Scott’s ‘Blade Runner’ (which recently celebrated its 30th Anniversary) was originally titled ‘Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?’ after the Phillip K. Dick book it’s based on. Obviously, the title was branded "non-commercial" and saw a number of alternative suggestions. ‘Android’, ‘Mechanismo’ and ‘Dangerous Days’ were all dismissed before they finally settled on ‘Blade Runner’.

Political reasons led to Disney dropping ‘Captain America’ from the title of ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ in Russia, Ukraine and South Korea. Local marketing bods decided that the uber-patriotic title would put audiences off due to anti-Americanism. We’d like to see duped customers’ faces when the film started.

90s gross-out comedy ‘American Pie’ was almost released as ‘Comfort Food’ before the marketing department decided a pie would make a great mascot. Apparently, the script was written with the working title ‘Teenage Sex Comedy That Can Be Made For Under $10 Million That Your Reader Will Love But The Executive Will Hate’.

Unfortunate events led to Ben Stiller’s ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ becoming simply, ‘The Watch’ earlier this year. The film’s entire marketing campaign was pulled after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot dead by a neighbourhood watch volunteer.

According to (and they should know) the legendary 1974 horror film was originally called ‘Headcheese’ (which refers to food made from a pig’s head). Luckily writers Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel saw sense and renamed it after no one took it seriously. Today, ‘Headcheese’ has become a 22 minute movie by Duane Graves and Justin Meeks.

‘Cloverfield’ went through a number of baffling name changes including ‘Cheese’,  'Slusho', 'Chocolate Outrage' and 'Monstro' before landing on its release title. The reason? Creator JJ Abrams was determined that an air of mystery remained around the movie so came up with these ludicrous names.

Can you think of any other movies that changed name? Let us know below...