For foreigners living in Japan, looking through DVDs can be a chore. You generally have a 50% chance of the title being the same, leaving you scanning through the cover designs to find what you’re looking for the other half of the time.
Sometimes the new titles that are bestowed in Japan give more insight to the film. For example, “Jerry Maguire” is given the less romantic but more concise title of “The Agent.” However, translation and localization often leaves people making judgment calls that could easily backfire. Take the DVD version of “Napoleon Dynamite” which Japanese cinema lovers have deemed “Japan’s worst changed movie title.”
In Japan you’ll find this quirky slice of Americana comedy listed under “Bus Man.”
At first it might seem that someone at 20th Century Fox simply fell in love with those few minutes of the film that the main character is actually on a bus and named the whole movie after them.
Actually, at the time the film was released in Japan in 2006, there was another movie, book, and television franchise doing very well called “Train Man.”
Looking at the cover images and apparent themes for both works, it actually doesn’t seem like a bad idea to try and cash in on the later series’ popularity. Unfortunately, film buffs in Japan felt rudely misled and scornfully dubbed it the worst – title – ever.
Showing that they have a sense of humor about the blunder, Fox Searchlight Pictures has decided to use this dubious honor to celebrate their 20th anniversary next year. They announced that starting this October, “Napoleon Dynamite” will be reissued with its original title in katakana as “Naporeon Dainamaito.” The DVD will also come with a band around the cover with a written apology from Fox saying: “We thought we were taking advantage of the times. We sincerely apologize.”
When news of the announcement hit the Internet, fans reacted by sharing their feelings on the film and many assumed that this was just a publicity stunt. Others suggested their own candidates for worst movie title substitutions. Take a look at the top contenders.
“Jason Z” (Original title: “Shredder”)
This would be a good title and follow-up to Jason X, aside from the small fact that this movie has nothing to do with the “Friday the 13th” series. To add to the confusion, they seemed to replace the original ski slopes of this movie with a hockey mask and burning camp.
“Die Hard: Last Day” (“A Good Day to Die Hard”)
Can’t really blame them for thinking this was the last day though. Who would have thought yet another sequel was in the works? Oh yeah, I guess the studio would have.
“Wolverine: X-Men Zero” (“X-Men Origins: Wolverine”)
More anachronistic fun with this installment of “X-Men,” only to be followed up by the earlier-set “X-Men: First Class,” which I guess in Japan should be called “X-Men Negative One.”
“A Goat and a Man and a Man and a Wall and” (“The Men Who Stare at Goats”)
It seems like they just ran this one through one of those automatic translators.
“96 Hours” (“Taken”)
Not a bad title considering the 96-hour deadline Liam Neeson had to work with but I guess they weren’t expecting…
“96 Hours Revenge” (“Taken 2”)
Alright, that’s still a good save, even though this movie lacks the time limit of the first. But you can just see this premise sitting in the corner surrounded by wet paint with the third installment coming up. I guess they could call it “96 Hours Avenged Revengence.”
“Hurt Locker” (“Hurt Locker”)
The name is the same but when put into the Japanese alphabet “hurt” sounds identical to “heart” making the title “Heart Locker,” “Heart Rocker” or “Hurt Rocker.” This was probably one they should have changed.
Last but not least, we have another film that could have used a title change. Converting Syriana into Japanese phonics, we get “Shiriana.” This wouldn’t be so bad except for the fact that “shiri” means “butt” in Japanese and “ana” means “hole.”
Source: Yahoo! News
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