Can You Believe These Mega-Hit Movies Almost Went By These Alternate Titles?

Would YOU go see a slasher-thriller calling itself Head Cheese?

By Breana Burek

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to producing a movie. You’ve got actors, screenwriters, lighting, set design and so much more. However, one of the most important aspects is the title. Readers judge books by their covers and same goes for movies. It could literally be the difference between an award-winning film and a dud that barely makes any money. How motivated would you be to go see a slasher thriller calling itself Head Cheese? Yeah, we thought so. Then again, some original titles were pretty decent—like Wiseguy, which would have been just as good as Goodfellas (oops, gave one away). Here’s a collection of movies that changed their title before hitting the big screen. Some of the swaps were major improvements, and others we kind of wish had made the final cut.

  • 1 Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone (2001)
    Previously named: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

    The word “philosopher” was deemed too “cerebral” for the American kids. They switched it to “sorcerer” to make it seem more magical and entertaining.

  • 2 Pretty Woman (1990)
    Previously named: 3000

    3000 was the amount that Julia Roberts’ prostitute character charges, err, per night. Ultimately, the producers wanted to step back from the hooker angle and focus more on the character herself.

  • 3 American Pie (1999)
    Previously named: Teenage Sex Comedy That Can Be Made For Under $10 Million That Your Reader Will Love But The Executive Will Hate

    Screenwriter Adam Hertz gave the film this unwieldily title when submitting the script to studios. It was later changed to East Great Falls High and then Great Falls.

  • 4 Hancock (2008)
    Previously named: Tonight, He Comes

    The original title referred to a superhero that was addicted to porn and would visit women at night. You can put two and two together. They decided to turn down the sex and change the title to a more neutral Hancock.

  • 5 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
    Previously named: Head Cheese

    Wow. Thankfully somebody thought, “Hmmmm, maybe we should just get straight to the point for this one.” Good idea.

  • 6 While You Were Sleeping (1995)
    Previously named: Coma Guy

    No explanation required for this working title. While kinda funny, Coma Guy is plain boring. The same title was later used as a running gag on House.

  • 7 Edge of Tomorrow A.K.A. Live. Die. Repeat. (2014)
    Previously named: All You Need is Kill

    Warner Brothers used the name Edge of Tomorrow for theaters, but the DVD was released as Live. Die. Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow. The movie did so poorly at the box office, they were apparently trying to “rebrand” with this new alternate name. We know what you did, Warner.

  • 8 Obsessed (2009)
    Previously named: Oh No She Didn’t

    This title would’ve been great if Beyoncé would’ve actually said “Oh no she didn’t” when Ali Larter stole her baby in the movie.

  • 9 White Chicks (2004)
    Previously named: The Miltons

    You know, like a spoof of the Hiltons? Yeah, they dropped that association pretty quickly.

  • 10 Goodfellas (1990)
    Previously named: Wiseguy

    The crime classic is based on the novel Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi. But producers did not want to compete with a then-contemporary TV show called Wise Guy, hence its better-known title.

  • 11 Saturday Night Fever (1977)
    Previously named: The Tribal Rites of The Saturday Night

    Too wordy, too much like a nature documentary. Saturday Night Fever makes you want to dance in your seat.

  • 12 Scream (1996)
    Previously named: Scary Movie

    Apparently, Harvey Weinstein was listening to “Scream” by Michael Jackson in the car one day and liked the title. The Scary Movie title would have another life via the beloved ’00s comedy franchise.