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How are movie titles chosen?

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Quick Answer

Screenwriters and movie executives choose movie titles that intrigue, pose an unanswered question, inspire, imply tension and catch the moviegoer's interest. A good movie title says something unique, becomes a focusing tool during project development and acts as a marketing tool once it is ready to screen.

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Full Answer

Some movie titles come from songs, such as the movie, "Pretty Woman," which features the famous Roy Orbison song of the same title; "Can't Buy Me Love;" and "Something to Talk About." Some movies have meaningless two-word titles that are intriguing and provoking and clue the moviegoer in on the film's genre, such as "Basic Instinct" and "Fatal Attraction," which are psychological thrillers, and "Executive Decision" and "Absolute Aggression," which are action movies. Some movie titles are people's names, which intrigue the moviegoer into finding out about the character, such as "Jerry Maguire," "Annie Hall" and "Erin Brockovich." Sometimes descriptors accompany these names to make the movie title more interesting, such as "Bridget Jones's Diary," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and "Being John Malkovich."

Other titles are names of places, such as "Jurassic Park" and "Notting Hill." Some connote a tense situation, such as "As Good As It Gets;" play with perception, such as "Black Swan;" or are common expressions, such as "Something's Gotta Give" and "It's Complicated." A good movie title can help a film become a box office success, while a bad one can sink the film.

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