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Name Changers ‘Southern Fury’ Out 24th February (UK)

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Over the years Hollywood has become littered with trivial stories of films being renamed in order to appeal to the exacting tastes of cinema goers across the globe, in a bid to help box office numbers soar rather than plummet. This has been the case for many well regarded films over the years, most recently the action packed thriller Southern Fury starring Adrien Grenier, Nicolas Cage and John Cusack, which was released in the US under the title Arsenal, to relate to the amount of weaponry used in the film by Grenier to rescue his kidnapped brother. However due to reasons fairly obvious to football fans the name had to be changed to a title still relevant to the film, but one that won’t confuse any fans of the beautiful game.

To celebrate Southern Fury’s release in cinemas on February 24th, we take a look at some other films from years past that have run a similar name changing gauntlet – with varying results…

Edge of Tomorrow / All You Need Is Kill / Live. Die. Repeat

The Doug Liman-directed action movie, starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, in which Cruise plays a soldier with the ability to restart the day every time he dies, was long known as All You Need Is Kill, which is also the title of the book on which the movie is based. But filmmakers revised the title feeling that the original, with the word “kill,” was too problematic. The film’s title was then changed once again for the film’s release on DVD & Blu-ray release to Live. Die. Repeat, which as well as having a certain memory-grabbing urgency, also has the benefit of describing things that actually happen in the movie.

Blair Witch / The Woods

The Blair Witch Project will always hold a special place in the history of horror cinema and in the hearts of its fans, and so when Lionsgate acquired the rights to the sequel they knew that keeping the film’s status as ‘in development’ a secret until it was ready to show to the world was key. That’s why they disguised the film as a totally new and stand-alone horror film called The Woods until the film debuted to unsuspecting horror fans at Comic Con. The reaction and announcement became monumental, with the artwork outside the screening even being changed whilst the film was playing, so that “Blair Witch” was displayed loud and proud to the buzzing crowds exiting the screens.

Zootropolis / Zootopia

This title change is a bit more of a mystery than some of the others on this list, especially as Zootopia (as it’s called in the US) was hugely successful both critically and at the box office, and given the value placed by Hollywood studios on global branding and marketing. A Disney spokesperson was quoted as explaining “In the UK we decided to change the US title to Zootropolis to merely allow the film to have a unique title that works for UK audiences.” To clarify, they’re changing the title because they’re changing the title. Is that clear? But it appears a collection of children’s songs in the U.K. (no? us neither…), as well as a well-known zoo in Denmark were enough to convince studio heads that a name change was necessary, which didn’t seem to hurt its release as it pulled in a cool £25million on its theatrical release.

Pretty Woman / 3000

Julia Roberts’ breakthrough film Pretty Woman was originally called 3000 in reference to the amount of money someone would have to fork out in order to have her company for the night. The 3000 script focused much more on the dark side of prostitution, telling the story of a drug-addicted hooker who’s rescued for a week and then returned to the streets. Disney, who made and distributed the movie, reportedly thought 3000 sounded too much like a science fiction flick, so they changed it to the name of the Roy Orbison song that plays during the film’s memorable shopping montage. Pretty Woman is undoubtedly a classic film, but it seems we’ll never know how it would have looked as a much grittier drama film, instead of the heart-warming romantic comedy it soon became.

Bad Neighbours / Neighbors

2014’s Seth Rogen/Zac Efron comedy about a fraternity living next door to a married couple, was originally named Neighbors for the film’s US release. But, thanks to a certain Australian soap being rather well-known in the UK, the word ‘Bad’ was added to make sure there was no confusion. The amended title has also been used in Australia for glaringly obvious reasons. When the film was originally announced, fans were confused as to how the two loveable Hollywood stars ended up on Ramsay Street, but sadly, Neighbours: The Movie is still no way near being a thing.

Bonnie and Clyde… Were Killers / Bonnie and Clyde

As strange as it may seem now, back in 1967 when the now iconic film Bonnie and Clyde was released, many people in the UK were unfamiliar with the unlawful duo on which the story was based. Whereas for our American cousins across the pond, the two were embedded in the culture of their country, and became a kind of folk tale of rebellion against the system that became ever more relevant during the 60’s and the ‘New Hollywood’ era. So when the film (which was already a slow burning success in the States) was about to be released in the UK, Warner Bros decided it would be best to add ‘… Were Killers’ to the end of the title, to give the characters some context to British audiences.

Scream / Scary Movie

Cinema has a great affinity for the 90’s horror classic Scream, a film that manages to be successful within the genre that it parodies; being an excellent satire of the modern slasher film, but also working as a horror film in its own right. However, if the film had gone by its original title, Scary Movie, it may well have been seen as an outright parody, and would have been hard done by to gain the credit it deserved for its clever tip of the hat to the genres clichés. This is something that the Wayans bros’ Scary Movie parody franchise clearly picked up on, using the original title for its much more comical take.

Lawless / The Wettest County

Here’s a classic issue studios have when it comes to naming their films, as they spend a lot of time adapting books which have titles which don’t make sense for mainstream cinema audiences.  This fairly modern example comes in the form of Matthew Bonduarant’s novel The Wettest County in the World, which was adapted into the Western starring Tom Hardy and Shia Labeouf and originally had the title abbreviated to The Wettest County, then changed to The Promised Land, before finally given the profoundly boring moniker: Lawless.  Although the new title might be more accessible, it relates nearly as well as its predecessor to a story about three brothers selling moonshine in Franklin County, Virginia during prohibition.

Southern Fury / Arsenal

The U.S release of Arsenal, a gripping action-thriller starring Adrien Grenier kicking ass and taking names in a desperate attempt to save his brother from drug lord Nicolas Cage earlier this year, prompted the film to be released in the UK a few months later. However the filmmakers soon came to realise that there was already a pretty established brand of the same name in the UK that may overshadow its marketing campaign, in the shape of Arsenal Football Club. The title was soon changed to the much more appealing title of Southern Fury for its upcoming release in cinemas.

SOUTHERN FURY IS RELEASED IN CINEMAS & ON DEMAND FROM FEBRUARY 24th, 2017

Editor-in-Chief of Movie Marker. Likes: Scorsese, Spielberg and Tarantino Dislikes: The film 'Open Water' I mean, what was that all about?

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How Casinos Can Improve a Movie

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When it comes to movie themes, you got them all. From war movies to romance films, there is something for everybody. However, the gamble theme is not often present but some casino scenes really mattered. For example, the roulette ball in Casablanca that landed on 22 two times, all this was possible thanks to the rigged roulette. 

Another example is found in the movie 21. This movie is mainly made after a book called Bringing Down the House and just like the movie, it’s about a group of students “robbing” a casino playing Blackjack. Actually, the robbing process consists in one person taking a seat at a Blackjack table and that person just counts the cards. After a while, their friend joins knowing which cards were already played. As expected, they get caught and the action begins.  

Daniel Craig and Casino Royale 

If it’s not already obvious, these examples cannot go further without mentioning Daniel Craig starring as a MI6 agent in the movie Casino Royale. This movie was not like any other James Bond films. Firstly, the new actor had blond hair and blue eyes. This new look was not welcome at all especially for die hard 007 fans. Daniel Craig had nothing in common with the previous agents such as Timothy Dalton or Pierce Brosnan. Moreover, back in 2005, right before the Casino Royale release, many fans were sure that Daniel will ruin the series. In fact, Casino Royale ended up being one of the best James Bond movies ever.  

After all, some changes were needed so the movie can have a fresh feeling. If we got used to every James Bond movie starting with the same scene, Casino Royale made it different. Until then, every single film started with a gun barrel sequence in which James walks in a white room, he turns, then fires and the blood drips down the screen. In the new 007 film, the movie starts with a black and white scene and at the end of this sequence, when we think that its first victim is dead, Daniel turns around then fires and we have the first gun barrel scene.  

As an illustration on the movie name, there are three poker scenes that make this film better. The first one has a well made old-fashion feel that is mainly made through the dissolve process. This technique was usually seen in the 80s and is a post-process film editing that makes the transition from one image to another.  

The second poker game is when Le Chiffre destroys James. Right after this game, there is a sequence that lets the agent sit alone on the table with nothing left, making the MI6 agent more natural. This is a high contrast with all the old cliché movies where James Bond was invincible. Further, Daniel gets poisoned by Le Chiffre but the secret agent survives by using the defibrillator from his car. Then he comes back and says ”I’m sorry, that last hand, killed me”.   

Like I said, casinos can be a good way to improve a movie. Also, land-based casinos suffered many changes over the years. Like most casinos that are now using online and mobile platforms. For about 400 years, casinos were just ”gamble houses”, but now they adopted new technologies. The most important change was of course, the online platforms which made it possible to enjoy casino games from the comfort of our house.  

For few years know, these virtual gamble houses started to show up everywhere. Moreover, there is a new online British casino called Admiral Casino and has a wide variety of fruit machines. In addition, their app is present on the App Store and you can now play slots like Sizzling Hot and Golden Sevens. Both games have 5 reels and are made by Novomatic. As has been noted, casinos made their contributions in many areas and now, thanks to the mobile technology they can be taken in your pocket. 

 

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Sequels Deliver at the Box Office

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Jurassic World was a gigantic hit in 2015, in fact, at a worldwide gross of $1,671,713,208 it remains the 5th highest grossing film of all time just behind Infinity War and The Force Awakens. That’s impressive for any franchise, let alone one long considered extinct. 

With its sequel, Fallen Kingdom, currently dominating the box office, it is worth looking at just how well sequels tend to do, the mixed fortunes they find themselves in, the biggest success stories and some considerably embarrassing failures. 

Fallen Kingdom hasn’t been a big hit with the critics (51% on Rotten Tomatoes compared to 71% for the first film) but this evolution of the series has still resonated with audiences, currently sitting at $932,387,335 and very likely to pass the hallowed billion dollar mark in the next week or so. A billion dollars is nothing to be sniffed at but there is still every chance the studio will consider it something of a failure that it was unable to eclipse its predecessor. 

A few other franchises worth examining; 

Fast and Furious 

A franchise that rose from the ashes of almost going straight to DVD, with the 7th installment staking its claim in the big leagues, ironically 7th highest of all time, but when Fate of the Furious came just two years later, it made close to $300 million less. Is that audiences simply getting sick of cars doing ridiculous things, or something else? Fast 7 was unfortunately bolstered by the death of star Paul Walker, giving it increased media attention. 

Star Wars 

As previously mentioned, The Force Awakens is one of the biggest box office hits of all time, and whether or not it will be unseated in third place by Infinity War is almost too close to call but it will be incredibly close. 

But it terms of diminishing returns, The Last Jedi made over $700 million less than The Force Awakens. Why is that? The answer for this one is pretty simple, The Force Awakens was such a huge, once in a generation event, that it wasn’t going to happen a second time. Not that The Last Jedi’s box office is low, it sits at 11th of all time. 

But Star Wars has a different problem, it is now a series that digresses from the main saga and moved into spin off territory. Rogue One was a big hit, being a member of the billion dollar club, but Solo, a film plagued with production troubles, has really struggled, pulling in a fairly weak $368,879,115. The blame for this lies in the release window, with Infinity War still making good change, and Deadpool the week before, Solo hit in the middle of one of the most crowded summers in recent memory, with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom snapping quickly at its heels. 

What is considered a success or a failure in these terms anyway? It’s hard to know for sure. Sony’s second attempt at the Spider-Man franchise (Amazing Spider-Man if you find all these Spider-People confusing) was a decent hit, and the sequel only made $50 million less but was considered such a failure by Sony that they ended up handing the character back to Marvel. Which we can all agree was the right thing to do. But just $50 million was enough to make them wonder, not the other $650 million it made. Sequels are expected to make more money. 

Now, one last point. The highest grossing film of all time?  

Avatar. $2,787,965,087.  

That will probably never be beaten. Avatar 2 has a release date of December 18th 2020. Will it come anywhere close to the first film? This seems unlikely. Or maybe not, James Cameron should never be counted out, he might very well end up with the top 3 highest grossing films of all time. Or will Star Wars Episode 9, which goes into production this week, come back with a bang and topple Cameron’s big blue cat people? 

Only time, and a lot of money, will tell. 

 

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Cinema FOMO

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FOMO; the fear of missing out. Defined in 2015 by the Oxford English Dictionary as, ‘anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media’.

It’s true that in our online, digitally driven world, FOMO is thriving on a global scale, however that doesn’t mean it’s a new phenomenon. Throughout cinematic history, audiences have craved a shared experience, using quotes and characters as shorthand in their own conversations. No-one wants to be left out of the discussion.

Even in this technological age, the world’s leading film magazine Empire, remains an important and relevant source in the world of film journalism and with its much-loved features and interviews with Hollywood’s A-List, you can avoid serious FOMO by joining their subscription service today, meaning you’ll never miss a review or important update from the world of film.

When the teaser trailer for Black Panther landed, it was viewed 89 million times in just 24 hours. It was the most tweeted about movie in 2017 (before it was even released) and has gone on to become the most tweeted about film ever made. People wanted to be a part of the #BlackPanther and #Wakanda phenomenon and Twitter gave them the community they desired, adding in Q&A specials and a Black Panther custom emoji.

But what about before the dawn of Twitter? Back in the dark depths of 1999, a little film called The Blair Witch Project dropped. Using the internet, online forums went mad with leaked rumours about a film created from the found footage of three missing filmmakers. The accompanying website presented credible back stories and realistic style news interviews. Missing person leaflets were also distributed to enhance the story. (Spoiler alert; if you don’t already know, it was all entirely fictional). At the time however, this clever and original marketing fed directly in to our FOMO receptors.

But what if we take social media and the internet out of the equation. Do we travel back to a pre FOMO time? The truth? Absolutely not, so you can put the DeLorean away.

Back in 1961, Alfred Hitchcock released Psycho. Whilst his reputation was already established, this was a self financed film, so a lot was riding on its success. He made the decision not to screen for critics first, meaning audiences got to see the film at the same time, with no preconceptions. He refused cast interviews and to pump curiosity, issued an edict that nobody would be allowed in to cinemas after the picture began. Would you want to be the only one not to know what was happening inside the Bates Motel? Absolutely not. People flocked, queues stretching around the block to ensure they experienced this new cinematic milestone. Quite simply, FOMO struck again.

In truth, it’s an innate human desire to want to belong and regardless of marketing, it doesn’t get much better than sharing the joy of a cinematic experience with friends.

 

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