Movies killed by their titles

“Cinderella Man”. This movie’s failure at the box office has never been much of a surprise to me.

It Can Happen to You, especially since the working title Cop Gives Waitress $2 Million Tip was much better.

Picking Up the Pieces also is so nondescript that it hurt the film.

Serenity, or so some of my friends believe.

Really doesn’t sound like a kick-arse science fiction adventure with tiny Asian girls kicking people to death.

Primal Fear

Excellent movie with an oscar-nominated performance by Edward Norton, ill-served by an insipid Hollywood-marketing-department title that tells potential viewers nothing about the movie.

It was commonly understood that The Shawshank Redemption tanked at the B.O. (only to have an incredible afterlife on home video) because of the title.

Man, I came here to mention Cinderella Man.

My recent nomination is Shoot 'em up.

The recent George Clooney movie, Michael Clayton, was said by many to have been unsuccessful partly because of the nondescript title.

I’ll give David Mamet’s shitfests the benefit of the doubt and say that pompus/obscure titles like Spartan (not a Roman epic), The Spanish Prisoner ( a con film- I’d say most people don’t know the reference though, which actually has nothing to do with the particular con in the film, even though Ed O’Neill explains it like it does), American Buffalo (about a coin theft) , Oleanna and Glengarry Glen Ross don’t pique the interests of the masses, and thats the reason they bomb at the box office.

The most brilliant “black (people) comedy” of the decade- POOTIE TANG

John Waters’ PECKER

Sorcerer, a cracking remake of The Wages of Fear.

It was the next film by William Friedkin after he made The Excorcist. Too many people thought it was another supernatural tale.

If I hadn’t seen a trailer for it in the movie theater, I might not have gone to see it myself. It became one of my favorite movies.

Actually, MC has been quite successful, making its money back within a month of its release and almost certainly to continue to turn profits as the awards-season approaches. To expect that a corporate corruption thriller would make the same numbers the Oceans movies did would have been unrealistic (and believe me, Warners is quite happy with the results so far).

Essentially, Michael Clayton (like Jerry Maguire before it) is a better title because it reminds you front-&-center that it’s a vehicle catered to best draw on its Star’s Talents (and it’s a far superior title than any number of other Grisham-like lawyer/thriller retreads we’ve come to expect from the genre).

I came to say Primal Fear, as well. If you haven’t seen it, don’t let the title dissuade you. It’s not a horror movie, which is what it sounds like.

I thought this tanked for a couple of reasons, one of which was a word “Redemption” in the title. Others being that it was a prison movie and that there were no women in it…

I know **Deep Impact ** did pretty well in the box office, but it always sounded like a pron movie to me…

On the opposite end of the spectrum, has any movie ever done better than Snakes on a Plane based only on it’s name?

Archive Guy already addressed this one, that Michael Clayton has been very successful, but now I’m curious. What made you think it was unsuccessful?

Btw, George Clooney won the first major award of the awards season yesterday, winning Best Actor for MC from the National Board of Review. Congratulations to him, a well-deserved win (even though everybody expected Daniel Day-Lewis to win for There Will Be Blood).

I don’t know anything about the film or its success, but its very rare for a realistic adult drama like this, or Quiz Show, or The Insider, to do huge at the box office.

I still don’t understand how any Best Actor award can be given out when no one’s even seen Johnny Depp in “Sweeney Todd”, or Daniel Day Lewis in his big movie. Is this mysterious National Board of Review like the New Hampshire of movie awards org.s? Just has to be first?

I observed this first hand while in line for the movie. Some teens were trying to decide which movie to go to and rejected “Serenity” solely on the name. I’m sure they’d have gone to see it if it had been called “Hot Chix Kick Ass”.

Just that soon after it came out, there were several big articles about “How is George Clooney an A-list star if a lot of his movies are so unpopular?” and cited early disappointing numbers on Michael Clayton. I don’t know if they just meant “as opposed to Ocean’s 11” or if they meant “as opposed to other A-list megastars” or what.

Yeah, but movies like that aren’t meant to do huge business. It’s so depressing that everybody expects every movie to be a blockbuster or else it’s a failure. There is no middle ground for some people.

Like the kinds of morons who write these articles. Writers, excuse me, “writers” write articles like that because controversy sells more and seems more “interesting” than the simple truth, which is that Clooney judges his roles on the roles themselves without taking into account how much money the movie will make. He gave up taking roles for money after Batman and Robin when he realized that life it too short to waste time on uninteresting crap. It takes more than constant blockbusters to be on the A-list, and Clooney has everything needed. George Clooney is an intelligent man, and a fine actor, with good taste in movies and co-workers. But that’s not interesting as a story. A hotter story is how his movies “tank” (right, in comparison to the largest amount a movie of his has made) and wondering why he’s still on the A-list. I wish I could slap the “writers” who do this.

They’ve always been first. Their awards have always come out at this time. And they did see Sweeney Todd (Tim Burton won Best Director) but it would seem that either they weren’t shown There Will Be Blood (they’re not going to hold up their awards just because the studios didn’t get screenings/screeners out) or they were and just didn’t like it. That happens.

It’s been a given in many pronosticating circles that throughout the entire awards season, the acting awards would go to:

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood)
Best Actress: Marion Cotillard (Le vie en rose)
Best Supporting Actor: Jarvier Bardem (No Country For Old Men)
Best Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett (I’m Not There)

and it still could (and probably should) be that way. Personally though, I think it’s refreshing when an awards body mixes it up a bit so I was very happy to see some unexpected choices from the NBR, with Clooney, Christie, Affleck and Ryan.