This article is not about a foreign Hollywood, but more about how Hollywood titles are treated in foreign countries, or to be more exact, by German-speaking cinemas. As I have lived most of my life in Austria, a small country south of Germany, I have come to learn that some titles of films are constantly changed to better fit the German-speaking audience. Honestly, that is absolutely fine and understandable, especially as some titles either use idioms or are play on words, which someone who doesn’t speak fluent English wouldn’t understand. Yet sometimes you find titles where you are trying to figure out what exactly the person was thinking when they created the new title to begin with. I am using an old article from 2011 from the German site Moviepilot.de as a source, due to most of the funniest title changes being included in this article. If you speak German and are interested, I will attach a link at the bottom of this article. Additionally, I will add some film titles that just rubbed me the wrong way either because they take away from the film or just make no sense.
One of the dumbest decisions I have ever seen is substituting an English title for another English title. The first Taken film was released as "96 Hours." No idea why this title change was considered necessary, but it is what it is. This even shows up in some bizarre choices to translate, as the film What Planet are You From? Turns into “Good Vibrations” with the very subtle German subtitle “Sex from another Star” [Sex vom anderen Stern].
That overall subtitling issue will be addressed shortly. One of the most recent ones that comes to mind is the new Disney film Big Hero 6, which has been changed to “Baymax." This decision is only because he was the focus of the advertising behind the film. This one especially bothers me, as the film is being released in Austria today for the first time, but that is a topic for an entirely other article. Yes, for anyone who is wondering "Die Eiskönigin: Völlig Unverfroren" is the German title for Frozen.
Even the long Dawn of the Planet of the Apes title was turned into “Planet of the Apes: Revolution,” which is shorter but still an English word replacing another.
Something typical for German film titles is using an unnecessary subtitle that either contains a horrible pun or just makes no sense. I love the subtitle for X-Men: Days of Future Past, but in German the translation for “Zukunft ist Vergangenheit” is “Future is Past." It simply takes away a lot from what the original title stands for and just seems rather lazy.
Another that might hurt many is that it seemed the simple title Alien wasn’t enough for the German audience to understand. You know what will help it? Just let us add a little subtitle. What could you possibly include? How about “The eerie Creature from a foreign World” [Das unheimliche Wesen aus einer fremden Welt]? Not only is the subtitle longer than the film title, but it just seems like someone looked up the dictionary to see what "Alien" even meant.
There are many more, and as I stated before if you speak German check out the link below. In the end, one would ask themselves if either the translators have no trust in the German-speaking country being able to understand English or they just don't know what to do with their time. I am sure this is not exclusive to the country I grew up in. So, anyone else have a funny or strange film title change in their country? Have some personal problems with strange translations of film titles? If that is so, leave a comment below!
Know any crazy title changes for your favorite films?