11 Famous Movies That Were Almost Named Something Else

Image credit: 
A Zillion Movies.com/Erin McCarthy

It's often the first thing you know about a film, so when it comes to crafting the next blockbuster, movie makers are eager to get the name just right. That means if the first—or second—suggestion isn't a winner, it's back to the drawing board to find something pithier, pluckier, or otherwise more appealing. Here's a look at some of the movie titles that didn't make the cut.

1. Pretty Woman

The movie that made Julia Roberts a star was originally supposed to be called 3000, a reference to how much Vivian charges Edward for a week of her company. Test audiences felt the title seemed a little too sci-fi, but luckily the soundtrack provided the perfect inspiration for an alternate. Also cut from the final product? The darkness of the original script, which featured a drug-addict hooker who, at the film's end, is back on the street instead of finding love.

2. Big

In this sweet film from 1988, Tom Hanks makes a wish and finds himself prematurely all grown up. Which is probably why it was originally titled When I Grow Up. But since brevity is the soul of wit, the powers that be decided why use four words when one will do — Big got the idea across just fine.

3. The Breakfast Club

This Brat Pack favorite was written under the title The Lunch Bunch, which loses points for cheesy rhyming but actually makes more sense when you think about it. They do eat lunch together in the film.

4. Scream

Scream may seem as simple as it gets for a horror flick title, but it originally boasted an even more basic name: Scary Movie. Director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson ditched the self-referential title for something less silly, but it soon found work somewhere that the irony was allowed to shine.

5. Hitch

The working title for the Will Smith RomCom stole a line from the movie: The Last First Kiss. Studio execs worried such a sappy moniker might discourage a male audience, so the sentimental option was dropped in favor of something slicker. It's unclear if this had the desired effect of attracting droves of the coveted demographic to a movie about matchmaking.

6. Snakes on a Plane

Which movie would you rather see: Snakes on a Plane or Pacific Air Flight 121? It's gotta be the former, right? Thankfully for meme-makers everywhere, Samuel Jackson agreed. And when the powers that be tried to replace the memorable moniker with something utterly bland, the star intervened.

"The title was what got my attention," Jackson told USA Today. "I got on the set one day and heard they changed it, and I said, 'What are you doing here? It's not Gone with the Wind. It's not On the Waterfront. It's Snakes on a Plane!' They were afraid it gave too much away, and I said, "That's exactly what you should do. When audiences hear it, they say, 'We are there!'"

7. Alien

This is another tale of "less is more." Or, the less-cited adage, "movies with the word 'star' in the title do not strike fear into the hearts of potential viewers." Alien is eerie, intriguing and instills a sense of unease all with one simple word. Star Beast sounds like the title of an anime film.

8. Annie Hall

Woody Allen's classic romantic comedy went by numerous names during the production process. Allen's original suggestion was Anhedonia, the medical term that refers to an inability to experience pleasure, but it was deemed not marketable (or pronounceable?) enough. Co-writer Marshall Brickman then offered a series of suggestions that are likely to delight to fans retrospectively, but failed to fit the tone of the film: It Had to Be Jew, Rollercoaster Named Desire and Me and My Goy. By the time the movie got to test screenings Alvy and Me and Anxiety were both still in the running.

9. Blade Runner

The Ridley Scott dystopian thriller is based loosely on Philip K. Dick's book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? As poetic and thought provoking as that title is, the studio thought such a clunky name would be tough to market, and production ran through a series of one-word options like Android and Mechanismo before settling on Blade Runner.

10. Tomorrow Never Dies

Screenwriter Bruce Feirstein said he was inspired for the structure of the title after hearing the Beatles song Tomorrow Never Knows on the radio while working on the script. However, the name that was born out of that stroke of inspiration was Tomorrow Never Lies, in which the "Tomorrow" in question was the film's fictional newspaper by the same name. But a fax typo during production resulted in the unintentional suggestion Tomorrow Never Dies, and it was deemed too good to correct.

11. Back To The Future

Writer Robert Zemeckis drafted the script under the title that eventually ran, but during production, executive Sidney Sheinberg suggested changing it to Spaceman from Pluto, claiming that including the word "future" in the name doomed a movie's success. Steven Spielberg prevented this disaster by pretending the whole thing was just a big joke. Sheinberg was too embarrassed to correct him.

More from mental_floss...

March 11, 2014 - 8:11pm
submit to reddit