The Movie Title Change as a Hollywood Distribution Ruse

Edge of Tomorrow is the large-scale 2014 science fiction actioner with Tom Cruise, but the front of the Dedge of tomorrowVD indicates that the title is LIVE, DIE, REPEAT, which was the tagline on the original poster and in larger letters than Edge of Tomorrow.  (The spine does reference Edge… after the new title.)  What gives?  The theatrical version was successful.  Does the studio feel potential purchasers of the DVD won’t realize Edge of Tomorrow is the same as LIVE, DIE, REPEAT?  The title change will make more money off DVD sales?  This unusual decision is reminiscent of a title change in 1968 and an advertising ploy in 1969.

Star! (1968) was a roadshow (reserved-seat) super musical  with she- who-could- do-no-wrong, Julie Andrews.  After her stage triumphs in The Boy Friend, My Fair Lady, and Camelot, she was signed by Walt Disney for the original screen musical,Star Mary Poppins (1964).  (Recall the hullabaloo over Audrey Hepburn not receiving an Academy Award Nomination for Best Actress in the film version of My Fair Lady that same year.  Andrews was not on the moviegoing  public’s radar so an established star like Hepburn was a natural to play Eliza Doolittle.)  Mary Poppins was a smash and Andrews received a nomination and won.  Andrews followed Poppins with an even larger musical, The Sound of Music (1965), a Best Picture winner with Andrews receiving her second Best Actress nomination.  Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967) came next and was a hit despite the flimsiness of the plot and studio sets.  It seemed natural for Andrews to re-team with her Sound of Music director, Robert Wise, for another big extravaganza.  Star! (1968) was based on the life of legendary British stage star Gertrude Lawrence, who had played the original Anna on Broadway in The King and I in 1951 and won the Tony Award for her work.  But even Wise admitted that they were taking a chance with a musical biography based on the life of a mostly stage actress who died in 1952.  The studio went all out.  The musical numbers were excellent if sometimes artificial (camera zooming in on Andrews’ face in a way the audience never could) but besides Lawrence being almost unknown to most citizens,those were the happy times the film showed her warts as well as her strengths.  There was talk that this flawed character was not the Julie Andrews the public wanted to see.   The filming was much covered in the press, the world premiere at the Dominion in London in July, 1968, and in October at New York’s  UA Rivoli and in Los Angeles at the Fox Wilshire, a glitzy affair with proceeds earmarked for charity as were most roadshow premieres.  Nevertheless, Star! did not catch on and was such a disappointment that 20th Century-Fox  took the odd step of editing it down, letting it play continuously (no longer reserved-seat) and changing the title to Those Were the Happy Times.  It didn’t succeed.  The public sensed this was still Star! and stayed away.

The following year witnessed not a title but a promotional change for another roadshow, sweet charitySweet Charity.  Like Star!, this was hyped during filming, and its opening night was equally glittering.  The East Coast premiere took place at Boston’s Saxon immediately following a snowstorm.  The L.A. premiere  was covered live by Regis Philbin on assignment from The Joey Bishop Show.  Guests included Cary Grant Gregory Peck, Irene Dunne, Governor Reagan.  Shirley MacLaine had left the set of Two Mules for Sister Sara to attend.  There was talk she’d receive another  Best Actress nomination.  But that was before the movie premiered and  like Star! failed to attract crowds.  Many middle-aged people found it sacrilegious, especially Sammy Davis Jr.’s hippie-inspired “Rhythm of Life.”  Times were changing in real life and on film.  Young filmmakers who’d touched a nerve with Bonnie and Clyde and The Graduate were the toast of Hollywood.  The era of super musicals was about to close.  The youth audience followed their parents and stayed away from Sweet Charity despite her supposedly “hip” persona.

MacLaine certainly deserved a nomination and the film was moving and full of great songs Sweet Charity 2, including “Big Spender,” “If You Could See Me Now,” and “I’m a Brass Band.  Initial critical opinion was favorable.  It was dancer/choreographer Bob Fosse’s first assignment as film director, and except for slightly disconcerting stop-action scenes, he did well.  MacLaine carried the day, making her dancehall hostess (code for taxi dancer, code for prostitute) winning, charming and pitiable.  Universal attempted to salvage its investment by changing, not the title of course, but the ad campaign.  They played up the risqué nature:  “Men Called Her ‘Sweet Charity,” “They dig the way they live!,” “Meet the Pros!” and “Swingers All…Men Were Their Business.”  As with Fox’s attempt to save Star!, Universal’s ploy failed.

By Kim

References 

Elder, Robert K.  The Best Film You’ve Never Seen.  Chicago:  Chicago Review Press, 2013.  Director Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters, Dreamgirls, two Twilight films) analyzes Sweet Charity.

Holston, Kim.  Movie Roadshows:  A  History and Filmography of Reserved-Seat Limited Showings, 1911-1973.  Jefferson, NC:  McFarland & Co., 2013.

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2015 Oscar Winners

Best Picture

BirdmanFeatured image

Best Director

Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman

Best Actress

Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Best Actor

Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Best Supporting Actor

J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

Best Costume Design

The Grand Budapest HotelFeatured image

Best Makeup

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Animated Short

Feast

Best Animated Movie

Big Hero 6

Best Visual Effects

Interstellar

Best Live Action Short Film

The Phone Call

Best Documentary Short

Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

Best Documentary FilmFeatured image

Citizen Four

Best Foreign Language Film

Ida

Best Sound Mixing

Whiplash

Best Sound Editing

American Sniper

Best Cinematography

Birdman

Best Editing

Whiplash

Best Production DesignFeatured image

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Original Score

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Original Song

“Glory” from Selma

Best Adapted Screenplay

Graham Moore, The Imitation Game

Best Original Screenplay

Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman

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New Releases 2/24

MoviesBig Hero 6
Big Hero 6
My Old Lady
Horrible Bosses 2
Whiplash
Beyond the Lights
Midsomer Murders set 25
Sons of Anarchy season 7
Code Black
The Shift
Outside Bet
Watership Down
Fellini Satyricon

Musicrace for space
First Kiss by Kid Rock
Melting the Crown by Z-Ro
The Race for Space by Public Service Broadcasting
Dope Machines by The Airborne Toxic Event
Sour Soul by Ghostface Killah & Badbadnotgood
Ultra Dance 16 by various

Audiobooksgirls of mischief bay
The Girls of Mischief Bay by Susan Mallery*
Hush Hush by Laura Lippman
The Perfect Homecoming by Julia London
Prodigal Son by Danielle Steel
Mightier Than the Sword by Jeffrey Archer*
Double Fudge Brownie by Joanne Fluke
* on order in the Playaway format

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New Releases 2/17

MoviesSt Vincent
The Boxtrolls
St. Vincent
The Homesman
The Interview
Game of Thrones season 4
The Chair
The World Made Straight
Sleepless in America
Life Itself
Watchers of the Sky
Terms and Conditions May Apply

Musictouch of stardust
Smoke + Mirrors by Imagine Dragons
I’ll Be Me Soundtrack by Glen Campbell

Audiobooks
A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott

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New Releases 2/10

MoviesLaggies
Lucy
A Walk Among the Tombstones
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Addicted
Laggies
The Song
Felony
In Your Eyes
Olive Kitteridge
Don’t Look Now
Lilting

Musicwhiskey on my breath
A Quien Quiera Escuchar by Ricky Martin
Face the Fire by Michelle Chamuel
Whiskey on My Breath by Love and Theft
Fifty Shades of Grey Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by various
You Gotta Love the Life by Melissa Manchester

Audiobookscrazy love you
Motive by Jonathan Kellerman
A Spool of Thread by Anne Tyler
Crazy Love You by Lisa Unger
Obsession in Death by J. D. Robb *^
Twelve Days by Alex Berenson
Blood Infernal by James Rollins & Rebecca Cantrell
*on order in mp3-CD format
^on order in Playaway format

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Grammy Winners 2015

Album of the Year:
Beck, Morning PhaseFeatured image

Record of the Year:
Sam Smith, “Stay with Me”

Song of the Year:
Sam Smith, “Stay with Me”

Best Country Album:
Miranda Lambert, Platinum

Best Pop Vocal Album:
Sam Smith, In The Lonely Hour

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration:
Eminem ft. Rihanna, “The Monster”

Best Pop Solo Performance:
Pharrell Williams, “Happy (Live)”

Best Rock Song:
Hayley Williams & Taylor York, “Ain’t it Fun”Featured image

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance:
A Great Big World with Christina Aguilera, “Say Something”

Best New Artist:
Sam Smith

Best Rock Album:
Beck, Morning Phase

Best Alternative Music Album:
St. Vincent, St. Vincent

Best Rock Performance:
Jack White, “Lazaretto”

Best Country Solo Performance:
Carrie Underwood, “Something in the Water”

Best Country Duo/Group Performance:
The Band Perry, “Gentle On My Mind”

Best Music Film:
Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer & Judith Hill, 20 Feet From Stardom

Best Music Video:Featured image
Pharrell Williams, “Happy”

Best Blues Album:
Johnny Winter, Step Back

Best R&B Album:
Toni Braxton & Babyface, Love, Marriage & Divorce

Best Urban Contemporary Album:
Pharrell Williams, GIRL

Best R&B Song:
Shawn Carter, Beyoncé Knowles, “Drunk in Love”

Best R&B Performance:
Beyoncé, “Drunk in Love”

Best Contemporary Instrumental Album:
Chris Thile & Edgar Meyer, Bass & Mandolin

Best Dance Recording:
Clean Bandit ft. Jess Glynne, “Rather Be”Featured image

Best Dance/Electronica Album:
Aphex Twin, Syro

Best Rap Album:
Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP 2

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album:
Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour

Best Jazz Vocal Album:
Dianne Reeves, Beautiful Life

Best Gospel Song:
Smokie Norful, “No Greater Love

Best Contemporary Christian Music Song:
Lecrae Ft. For King and Country, “Messengers

Best Gospel Album:
Erica Campbell, Help

Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album:
Calle 13, Multiviral

Best American Roots Song:
Rosanne Cash, “A Feather’s Not A Bird”Featured image

Best Americana Album:
Rosanne Cash, The River & The Thread

Best Bluegrass Album:
The Earls Of Leicester, The Earls Of Leicester

Best Reggae Album:
Ziggy Marley, Fly Rasta

Best World Music Album:
Angelque Kidjo, Eve

Best Folk Album:
Old Crow Medicine Show, Remedy   

Best Children’s Album:
Neela Vaswani, I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up For Education And Changed The World (Malala Yousafazi)

Best Comedy Album:
“Weird Al” Yankovic, Mandatory Fun

Best Musical theater Album:
Beautiful: The Carol King Musical

Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media:
Frozen 

Best Song Written for Visual Media:
Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez, “Let It Go”Featured image

Best Instrumental Composition:  
John Williams, “The Book Thief

Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s):
Billy Childs, “New York Tendaberry

Best Album Notes:
Ashley Kahn, Offering: Live At Temple University (John Coltrane, album notes writer)

Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical:
Beck, Morning Phase

Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical:
John Legend, “All Of Me” (Tiesto’s Birthday Treatment Remix)

Best Surround Sound Album:
Beyoncé Knowles, Beyoncé

Best Engineered Album, Classical:
Michael Bishop, Robert Spano, Norman Mackenzie, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Vaughan Williams: Dona Nobis Pacem; Symphony No. 4; The Lark Ascending

Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance:
Hilary Hahn & Cory Smythe, In 27 Pieces – The Hilary Hahn Encores

 

 

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New Releases 2/3

Movies
The Best of Me john wick
John Wick
Get on Up
Dear White People
Hector and the Search for Happiness
Anzac Girls
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby
Starred Up
Once Upon a Time in Veronica
Every Man for Himself
Video Games: The Movie
The Overnighters
Tricked
Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic

MusicI Will Follow
Reflection by Fifth Harmony
Now 53
Now That’s What I Call Movies
Shadows in the Night by Bob Dylan
I Will Follow by Jeremy Camp

Audiobooks
Trigger Warning by Neil GaimanFunny Girl
Funny Girl by Nick Hornby
Crash & Burn by Lisa Gardner *
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
American Chronicles: First Ladies by NPR
The Opposite of Spoiled by Ron Lieber
* on order for the mp3-CD format

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New Releases 1/27

Movies
The Judge DowntonAbbey5
The Remaining
The Book of Life
Fury
Before I Go to Sleep
La Cienaga
Maison Close season 1
The Story of Women and Art
Art and Craft
Downton Abbey season 5
The Equalizer season 3

Music

Non-fiction by Ne-Yo
Then Came the Morning by The Lone BellowPrivate Vegas
Only to Rise by Sweet & Lynch

Audiobooks
Private Vegas by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
The Sacrifice by Joyce Carol Oates
Ghettoside by Jill Leovy

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2015 Screen Actors Guild Awards

Lifetime Achievement Award

Debbie Reynolds

FILM

Male Actor, LeadBoyhood

Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Female Actor, Lead                          

Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Male Actor, Supporting

J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Female Actor, Supporting

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

Ensemble Cast

Birdman

Action Performance for Stunt Ensemble  The_Normal_Heart_Poster

Unbroken

TV

Male Actor, TV Movie or Miniseries

Mark Ruffalo, The Normal Heart

Female Actor, TV Movie or Miniseries

Francis McDormand, Olive Kitteridge

Male Actor, Drama Series

Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

Female Actor, Drama Series

Viola Davis, How to get Away with Murder

Male Actor, Comedy Series

William H. Macey, ShamelessOrange is the New Black

Female Actor, Comedy Series

Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black

Ensemble Cast, Drama

Downton Abbey

Ensemble Cast, Comedy

Orange is the New Black

Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble

Game of Thrones Game of Thrones

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New Releases 1/20

Movies
Annabelle
The Drop

Music
American Beauty/American Psycho by Fall Out BoyAmerican Beauty
Tetsuo & Youth by Lupe Fiasco
Time by Mikky Ekko
B4.DA.$$ by Joey Bada$$
No Cities to Love by Sleater-Kinney
2015 Grammy Nominees by various
What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World by The Decemberists
The Lyricists’ Opus by Chrisette Michele
The Pale Emperor by Marilyn MansonFirst Frost

Audiobook
Burned by Karen Marie Moning*
First Frost by Sarah Allen Addison
Cane and Abe by James Grippando
*on order in mp3-CD format

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