Crash. Gladiator. Bad Boys. Twilight. Men in Black. Scream.
Don’t be surprised the next time you cue up a movie to watch only to discover it’s not what you expected. Since the invention of celluloid, movies have recycled titles and, as long as the later movie isn’t trying to pass itself off as the earlier one, there’s usually no issue with it. But the powers-that-be at Warner Bros. didn’t see it that way when they caught whiff of Lee Daniels’ The Butler.
Having made their own movie with that exact same—albeit not very original—title back in 1916, the studio argued (and won) that Daniels should not be allowed to bestow the same moniker upon his film, based on the life of Eugene Allen, who served in the White House for 34 years. This week, audiences will need to double-up on their syllables when purchasing tickets for the film formerly known as The Butler, now much less eloquently known as Lee Daniels’ The Butler. Which is certainly less of a mouthful than Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire.
Daniels' isn't the only player in the title switcheroo game. In fact, some of cinema's most beloved films have been called something else at some stage in their production. And whether the name changes came about for simplicity, secrecy, or legal reasons, it’s hard to imagine them as being anything but the iconic titles they’ve come to be known as today. Still, these are The Original Titles of 25 Classic Films.