Friday, October 24, 2014

Title Confusion

Recently, Warner Bros. released Edge of Tomorrow on home media. It's a film that you may have missed in the theaters, because the marketing campaign that the studio put together for it wasn't very good. I remember looking at the trailers and saying, "Generic sci-fi action film." The marketing campaign failed to emphasize certain elements, such as the film's dark sense of humor or Emily Blunt's character. Tom Cruise fights aliens…

Reviews came out and they were super-positive, I went to go see it and I loved it.

Prior to the day its trailer landed, Edge of Tomorrow was actually going to be titled All You Need Is Kill. That was the name of the manga it was based on, and the title really fits the film. But as usual with some Hollywood films, the studios opted to give it a lame, vague, and bland title instead. Edge of Tomorrow… Yeah, that can mean anything. All You Need Is Kill at least piques your interest a bit…

The marketing used the words "Live. Die. Repeat." for its tagline, sometimes the tagline itself overshadowed the film title on the posters. As if the film was actually called Live. Die. Repeat. or something…

Apparently some folks at WB regret that dull title, because the Blu-ray release of the film has this for a cover…

On the spine and discs, it has the tagline before the actual title, it further implies the film is called Live. Die. Repeat.: Edge of Tomorrow. Put it in the PS3 and it'll have that for a title.

But watch the film, it has the film's original theatrical release title. On the back with the small credits, it says "Edge of Tomorrow"… What in the world is up with this package?

Also, what does this have to do with Disney VHS collecting?

Four words: The Great Mouse Detective

The film was originally going to be titled Basil of Baker Street, because that's the name of the books it is based on. The film was in production when Disney's corporate regime changed, when newcomers Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg entered the Mouse House. After The Black Cauldron lost money in 1985, this film's budget was cut in half and the title was changed. The excuses ranged from "it was too British-sounding, Young Sherlock Holmes [a 1985 film] was a flop!" to "The Great Mouse Detective is an easier title for kids!"

As a result, this joke memo was made, because that title change was pretty lousy… (Ditto Rapunzel being changed to Tangled, for equally idiotic reasons.)

Anyways, the film was released as The Great Mouse Detective in the summer of 1986. Unlike the previous summer's Disney animated film, this film made its money back… But that's because it cost half as much to produce, the gross itself wasn't much higher than Cauldron's. It also gave Disney Animation some much needed "proof" that it could indeed be of use to the newcomer executives, because Eisner and Katzenberg were ready to give feature-length Walt Disney Animation the boot after The Black Cauldron went belly up. Can you imagine???

The Great Mouse Detective, unlike competitor Don Bluth's An American Tail - released a few months later, wasn't given a video release following its theatrical run. Bluth's mouse hit continued to reel in the dough when it hit home media, but Disney didn't opt to release any of its recent films on video. By fall 1986, Disney was just really beginning to get the Golden Age classics out on home video. The only exception was Robin Hood, but that was a "test the waters" release since Disney was unsure as to whether they should release a classic and cancel out future theatrical re-releases, or not.

No contemporary Disney film would see a video release until The Little Mermaid in 1990, after Disney took note of how huge the film was at the box office and did some research, finding out that consumers would purchase the video release in a heartbeat…

Before 1990, none of the 1980s Disney animated features saw a home video release. The Fox and the Hound wasn't a priority at the time given the fact it was way too recent, and that Walt's classics came first (with the exceptions of Snow White and Fantasia, which at that time were said to be too special to hit home video) when it came to video. Again, 1973's Robin Hood was them testing the waters. They didn't touch another 70s film until 1992, when The Rescuers hit video.

The Black Cauldron? Disney's new powers-that-be wanted to bury that yucky leftover from the previous regime, though it did get a theatrical re-release in Europe albeit recut with a new title: Taran and the Magic Cauldron.

The Great Mouse Detective and Oliver & Company? Despite being successful, there was no rush to give them video treatment. Again, Walt's classics came first. In 1987 we got Lady and the Tramp on video, not Mouse Detective. In 1989, we got Bambi instead of Oliver. Disney thought that future re-releases were necessary for these two films, even after Mermaid hit video right after it left theaters.

In February 1992, Disney re-released The Great Mouse Detective. But for some strange reason, the film's already not-so-great title was expanded. Now the film was titled The Adventures of The Great Mouse Detective

So then the video release was going to come in July, because the re-release didn't really do all that well - only mustering up around $13 million, canceling out a future re-release. The very first trailer for the video release was attached to the end of the 101 Dalmatians VHS…

… a trailer that was essentially a slightly altered version of the actual theatrical trailer for the 1992 theatrical re-release. This is evident in the trailer's ending, where it shows the typical trailer credits before abruptly fading into "Coming This Fall To Home Video".

After The Great Mouse Detective was released on video in July 1992, The Rescuers followed in September and had the same trailer, except Mark Elliot re-recorded his narration, and it also used the original title graphic at the end.

The film's cover has the original title, the tape label has the original title… But pop in the VHS, and it opens with… THIS.

What the heck…

Why put the original 1986 title on the packaging if the tape uses the 1992 re-release title? I don't get it…

The same happened when the film came back to video in 1999…

Not going to lie, that cover artwork is quite
unusual for a Disney release. But very cool

… and then when it hit DVD in 2002.

Finally, the 2010 "Mystery in the Mist" edition corrected everything. Well, almost everything. The DVD does restore the original title card, but the print uses the 1990 Walt Disney Pictures logo instead of the 1985 one. A minor little hiccup, but it's great that they finally used the original title on the actual film presentation itself. The 2012 Blu-ray, also called the "Mystery in the Mist" edition, keeps that same print.

Oh, and… How come the original 1986 theatrical trailer hasn't been found?

1 comment:

  1. Very thorough. This was always one of my favorite "newer" Disney animated movies. I remember I was really happy when I saw the 2010 "Mystery in the Mist" DVD edition retained the original 1986 title card. It also had a better restoration job than the 2002 DVD (which, if you may recall or not, also had a problem with the soundtrack, where the music score was muffled in parts.)
    I did notice the Walt Disney Pictures logo at the start, but it actually appeared to be the late 90s/early 2000s version than the 1990 version; it's more smooth and computer-like than the version used on the 1992 reissue (which obviously appeared to have been shot on film.)
    Seems the film has gone back into the Disney Vault for the time being. Maybe they're getting ready to release a 30th anniversary edition or something next summer (hopefully then it'll include the theatrical trailer!)
    Seems the