The Trotsky, Notsky - Complications Ensue
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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Courtesy of Telefilm I'm in a seminar full of idealicious goodies, one of which was getting to hear a slew of distribution execs talk about what makes movies work. The consensus seems to be that THE TROTSKY is a funny movie with lovely performances, beautifully directed, which should attract kids ... and the title hurt it in the market. Kids, the natural audience, don't hear "THE TROTSKY" and think, "I should go see that!" or even "I wonder what that's about?"

As opposed to, say, KNOCKED UP or THE HANGOVER. Or even GET HIM TO THE GREEK.

Your title is the most important few words in your entire script or movie. It can make a movie -- YOUNG PEOPLE F***ING practically sold itself. ("Everyone thought it was porn. We should put the word "f***ing" in every title," said the panel.) It can hold a great movie back -- think of THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, which is possibly the worst title ever given to a feel-good movie. And it can sink a small release.

Unless you have an absolutely awesome title already, spend a few days doing nothing but coming up with titles. You won't regret it.

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5 Comments:

I'm reminded (mostly because I just watched it last night) of "Youth In Revolt" - which really doesn't aptly describe the film itself but I think that's beyond the point. For what it is, it sells itself to an audience of either kids with the fantasy of sticking it to the man or grown-ups who might like to remember what it was like to be a kid with the urge to revolt at all. If it was taken, I think it would've been more appropriately used to title The Trotsky.

By Blogger J.Rai, at 9:30 AM  

We just watched Titan A.E. again, and, independent of the quality of the movie itself, came away wondering, "What were they thinking with that title?"

By Blogger Alex, at 9:37 AM  

Marketing and creation go hand in hand. Each influences the other.

By Blogger Cunningham, at 10:46 AM  

They think that "Young People F***ing" was a great title because it deceived the audience into going to the theatre?

As for "Knocked Up", "The Hangover"- and especially "Get Him To The Greek", they are nothing without the publicity followed by great word of mouth. Unless the film is an adaptation of a known work or a sequel, it is the P&A that sells the thing.

Does anyone think that "The Hangover" would have sold appreciably fewer tickets if it had been called "The Trotskys" - as nonsensical and unrelated as that title may be?

"The Trotsky" was a bad title for me because of the statement of ideology it seems to make. It is the equivalent of titling a film "The Mussolini" or "The Guevara".

By Blogger Clint Johnson, at 3:50 PM  

THE TROTSKY is a wonderful movie. I really hope it finds its audience.

By Blogger Lisa Hunter, at 12:40 AM  

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