Friday, July 31, 2015

More Title Confusion: Is 'Moana' Getting A Title Change?

Remember a few weeks ago when Disney UK's marketing chief implied that Moana was a tentative title for Walt Disney Animation Studios' holiday 2016 event animated feature?

I had presumed that when this executive had said "tentative", he was referring to the European title. I was told by Impero Disney writer Iry, who is from Italy, that the possible Europe-only title change could be due to a certain someone named Moana. A certain someone that Disney wouldn't want to have their film associated with in those territories. Understandable in a way...

Also, where did this UK Disney marketing exec say this? During Disney's CineEurope presentation a few weeks back...

So it seemed like all was okay, right? It seemed like we wouldn't get another "go away girls" American title change for Disney Animation's upcoming epic about a Polynesian heroine, right?

According to Film Divider, who get scoops and often unearth details (similar to Latino-Review, but often more accurate), Moana could possibly be retitled here in the states... Much to my dissatisfaction, of course!

Testing titles isn't anything new. I remember, for example, The Amazing Spider-Man 2. In fall 2013, in the weeks prior to the trailer drop, there were reports about Sony possibly giving the film a subtitle. Some of them sounded pretty... Odd... With Great Power was one of them. Another one was The Price of Power. Rise of Electro was another, too... Rise of Electro was the international subtitle for the film. It was released here as just The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Perhaps Film Divider's crew might've misinterpreted the CineEurope reports, or maybe their sources are referring to alternate titles that they'll use for other territories. Certainly nothing new with the Mouse House, that's for sure. Maybe they are right...

Anyways, Moana should be the name of the film. It's the name of the main heroine for Pete's sake! Plus, it's a title that's interesting-sounding, if you ask me. If I was not an animation nut, and you happened to tell me the titles Tangled and Frozen, I probably wouldn't get interested. With something like Moana, I'd say "What's Moana?"

I sincerely hope that this won't be another Tangled situation, where marketing people and suits let their biases win the day. I mean, a title is a title, what matters is the film itself, but... If Moana gets boy-friendly title, I'm not going to be happy. There's going to be an open letter, I will rant...


The title should be the decision of the filmmakers, not the higher ups. Yes, I know that Tangled's directors came out and defended the title change, but really, Tangled was supposed to be called Rapunzel. Disney's executives forced the title change because they assumed that titles with female names or "female-centric words" (princess, queen, what have you) would drive... Young boys away from seeing their films. Maybe they should've considered that The Princess and the Frog - regardless of whether you or I thought it was good or bad - didn't look like a must-see from the marketing.

Yes, because young boys are the sole audience that makes Disney films big. Forget that adults and teens make them big, forget the families, forget the kids even...

Ignorance. How many times does it have to be repeated ad nauseam? The big smash hit animated films do well because of everyone, not just "kids dragging their parents to the theater." First of all, the parent makes the ticket buying choice, and if they don't want to subject themselves to what little Johnny or Jenny wants to see, they won't take them. They'll wait till VOD, DVD, Blu-ray, etc. If not, then why did Frozen do so well, but not Free Birds? Why did Big Hero 6 do well, but not The Nut Job? Why does one G/PG film do well, when the other one doesn't?

Disney should know better. Frozen did well because it looked GREAT from the trailers and advertising, it had nothing to do with the damn title!

Also... Stop shutting girls out. Disney Animation isn't a treehouse for young boys, it's something for everyone. Stop with the excluding of females.

Also... Snow White? Cinderella? Sleeping Beauty? The Little Mermaid? Beauty and the Beast?

But... But... We don't know yet. Moana should be the title, no ifs, ands, or buts.

Disney Animation is for the audience, and always has been, thus it should go after the audience... Not one demographic. Forget the 6-12 year old boys, just please the adults and teens with the ads, they'll go, kids will automatically want to go to see it because it's animated and it's G/PG. Stop this stupid nonsense and sell the movie to adults, stop trying to please one or two demographics.

I mean, Disney... Your current biggest phenomenon, and the 8th highest grossing film of all time, is a film about two princesses that has dreaded musical numbers. Don't give me and audiences any more of this "we gotta appeal to 6-12 year-old boys" hogwash! Moana is Moana, it should remain that way, end of story.

If the title change isn't a boy-pandering one, I won't be as upset...

But Disney execs, all I'm going to tell you is this...



  1. I'm afraid there is nothing we can do about it and this time. The executives are cruel and greedy people. They just want the money. And according to the Bible, loving money is evil. So that makes those executives a bunch a greedy and evil people!

  2. I'm honestly not that bothered by the potential of Moana getting a title change--or by Frozen's title change, for that matter. Tangled was different, because it was based on the story of Rapunzel, and should have been sold as such.
    But Frozen has so little in common with the story of the Snow Queen it might as well be an original movie, so a new title is just fine. And Moana IS an original movie, so I don't see a problem Disney with giving it whatever title they want to.
    As for the idea that animated movies have to appeal to parents to be successful, I've always been skeptical of that. After all, remember what another one of Disney's biggest franchise films was? Cars 2. And that certainly wasn't on many parents' "want to see" list.

    1. My issue is over Disney trying too hard to appeal to one fraction of their audience. I want the film to be called what the filmmakers want it to be called, I'm personally not big on executives mandating a title change that's all solely for marketing purposes in America when it probably didn't even need such a change in the first place. 'Frozen', like you said, is so loosely based on 'The Snow Queen' that it probably doesn't matter, but I bet they settled on that title based on their insistence that it had to be a boy-friendly title. That's what I don't like.

      As for 'Cars 2', I strongly believe that Pixar has a built-in audience that comes every time they open a new film (outside of 'Ratatouille', every film they have made since 'Monsters, Inc.' has opened with over $60m domestically), and 'Cars' - despite what the Internet may say - was a very successful film. It opened big, it made 4x its opening weekend and most people - adults, more so than kids - I know think it's fine. Critical reception, while not perfect, was still very good. 'Cars 2' opened big, I believe, because people who trust Pixar went, the audiences who liked and made 'Cars' a hit went, and quite a lot trust Pixar in general. Why would those audiences who trust Pixar and made 'Cars' a hit avoid the sequel?

      I don't recall saying "parents" are who you have to go after, I feel you should go after adults in general - whether they are parents or not. As I argued in my DreamWorks piece, I think aiming just for parents isn't enough. I think the big trophy is childless adults, because "animation is for kids" is a mindset that prevails, and getting them I think is the ultimate challenge when you're releasing a family-friendly G/PG animated film.

  3. DeLuxODonnell, I agree with you. All Disney does these days is live action remakes and CGI. That's all Disney does these days, live action remakes and CGI. Why Disney is so obsessed with live action remakes and CGI since 5 years ago. Why can't Disney brings back traditional animation? I hate traditional animation-less animated movies. How many CGI movies Disney released these days? I'm sick of CGI Disney movies. That's all Disney making animated movies does these days. Why can't kids like traditional animation? I'm sick of kids watching animated movies only have CGI. Disney needs traditional animation back. I'm tired of live action remakes and CGI. So you should make an article about the post-Katzenberg era rant and great article. ;)