Great Movie Titles That Almost Weren’t

Blake Snyder places a lot of emphasis on the title of your script, and I think he’s on to something. If you have a fully developed log line and a well-thought out outline, but still haven’t thought of a good title, it may be because your story isn’t very compelling. This isn’t always the case, of course, but you should never underestimate the value of a good title. A title that catches a reader’s attention, that intrigues them and, ideally, gives them a sense of what your story will be about, is a priceless commodity.

Here are a few great movies that almost suffered the terrible fate of a bad title:

1. $3000 – The original title of Pretty Woman. The movie also had a different, sad ending originally, but that didn’t play well with audiences.

2. Star Beast – This was the original title of Alien. Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it?

3. Anhedonia – This medical term for the inability to feel pleasure was what Woody Allen wanted to call Annie Hall. Other title options suggested by co-writer Marshall Brickman included It Had to be Jew, Anxiety, and Me and My Goy.

4. Everybody Comes to Ricks – The original title of Casablanca. (You’ll notice that short and snappy almost always wins out.)

5. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – This is the name of the short story that eventually became Blade Runner.

6. Spaceman from Pluto – This is what one executive wanted to call Back to the Future. He was overruled.

7. The Cut Whore Killings – This was the original title for Unforgiven.

8. Pacific Air Flight 121 – Samuel L. Jackson fought and won the battle to name this film Snakes on a Plane.

9. When I Grow Up – The original title of Big.

10. Not Tonight Josephine – This was the original title of Some Like It Hot.

For more could-have-been movie titles, check out Mental Floss and ShortList.

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