What's in a (Movie) Name?

Movie marketing makes audiences care about the mundane.

When did movie names become a big deal?

The thought came about because Sony made an event out of the title for the new Spider-Man movie. If you care about such things, it is called Spider-Man: No Way Home. It was revealed a day after cast members Tom Holland, Jacob Batalon, and Zendaya posted joke titles on their Instagram accounts. The title instantly started trending #1 on Twitter, bringing massive attention to the new movie and release date. No new footage of the movie was released, only some random words that won’t mean anything until audiences see the movie.

The earliest instance I thought of audiences being excited for a movie name was when the James Bond credits would tease the title of the next movie. This made a lot of sense when it was done for two reasons: fans could get excited that another James Bond movie was definitely coming, and give a sneak preview into what Ian Fleming novel was going to be adapted next. That changed as source material from Ian Fleming dried up (Fleming wrote twelve novels, there are twenty-four official James Bond movies). Now the names are used as a bit of fun promotion and give a clue into what the theme song might be called (most James Bond songs are named after their corresponding movie.)

The other big franchise that used movie titles as big marketing materials is Star Wars. Star Wars titles provided a light spoiler into what will happen in the movie. When director George Lucas began hyping up the prequels, this became an exciting reveal for a sequel some thirty years in the making. Germain Lussier for i09 excitedly wrote about one of his favorite Star Wars title reveals of all-time. These reveals became something audiences were excited for and websites were happy to report about.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens was revealed with this tweet:

Title reveals are an easy way to generate audience interest, and another tactic used in a long line of traditional marketing tools. Titles are announced at conventions and social media, often getting audiences excited over a simple title treatment. There are a number of movies that use this marketing strategy nowadays. Honestly, I can’t see getting that excited over a name. Call me when there is a movie trailer to watch.

I think the practice of making a big deal out of movie names is obnoxious, but this reveal has achieved its goal. It has generated a discussion of a movie based on its name. Guess it works.

(Shout out to Anton Volkov for the idea.)

Links

(Above: Some Like it Hot end sequence)

Do you like lists? A collaborative effort at Vulture details the 101 best movie endings of all-time. How many have you seen?

Lord of the Rings could’ve looked a lot different. Drew McWeeny has an article for Polygon that details early plans for the Tolkien trilogy.

On the most recent podcast, John and I talked with guest Roxana Hadadi and we discussed how ridiculous the Golden Globes are. Ahead of the broadcast this weekend, Stacy Perman and Josh Rottenberg of The LA Times, wrote about the Hollywood Foreign Press Associated (HFPA) and how much corruption is involved in their nominating process.

Actress Mara Wilson (Mrs. Doubtfire, Matilda) wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times about how the press shapes ‘the narrative’ and how she relates to Britney Spears.


Streaming this Weekend (Feb 26-28)

Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry (Available on Apple TV+)

The United States vs. Billie Holiday (Available on Hulu)

Minari (Available to rent on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu or anywhere else you rent movies)

Tom & Jerry (Available on HBO Max)

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