By now we all realize that movie titles don’t necessarily translate well between different languages, but there are always those exceptions that might not need as much work or to be changed as much as you might think. Instead, other countries, Japan in this case, tend to change the titles and even the covers around to better suit their idea of what the movie is about and to please the crowds. What might seem to please people and make them want to see the movie in America could be very different in Japan so it’s not too surprising that things get changed according to cultural bias and what their censors allow.
Sometimes they make the title better, but other times it makes you wonder just what they were thinking about.
Thor: Ragnarok-Mighty Thor: Battle Royal
It certainly sounds a little more exciting if you don’t know anything about the Nordic cultures or what the Asgardian gods referred to as the end of their world. Ragnarok carries a heavy significance for those that were brought up in such cultures and in English is far more menacing than this new title that was given to the movie in Japan. In a sense, Battle Royal gives it more of a feeling that the movie will be a battle that has certain rules attached to it. The reality of course is that in Ragnarok the only rule is to survive.
Anger Management-New York Style Happy Therapy
I’m with the host of the clip on this one. Happy Therapy sounds too much like someone pulling at the strings and making another person dance to their tune. Plus, the image of Jack Nicholson on the Japanese cover is just kind of disturbing.
Being John Malkovich-Malkovich’s Hole
It goes without saying that this title just seems wrong. Different cultural ideas about what Hole could mean are obviously in play, but in English this just looks all kinds of wrong, even though technically there is a hole in the wall that leads into Malkovich’s head, somehow.
American Pie: Reunion-American Pie Pie Pie
It’s almost like the creator of the title to the Japanese version got a little TOO excite while trying to think it up. Without getting gross I wonder if they were wandering through, or by, a bakery when this title came to mind. Yeah, that image won’t get out of my head now.
Up-Grandad Carl’s Flying House
I get the idea that granddad is a term of endearment in many cultures and doesn’t allude to the fact of whether or not a person does in fact have grandkids. But many kids wouldn’t see it this way unless they already understood that particular cultural norm. Plus the English version is simple and to the point without giving too much away all at once.
The Karate Kid-Best Kid
Technically the main character did become the best kid when he won the tournament, but it seems to give away a little too much from the beginning. It’s almost like the Japanese don’t like surprises when it comes to the movies.
Whatever works for each country I guess.