Who’s on first? I’m so confused.
Hey Annie. Have you seen the American film with Ashton Kutcher called “SEX FRIENDS”? My friend says this whole phrase in French except for the movie title “Sex Friends” which she says in English.
I thought the movie sounded like some third rate porno movie but with Ashton in it, how could it be? In any case, I had not seen the movie nor had I heard of it.
Turns out, I had seen it only it was realeased under a diferent, less “sexual” name in the US. This happens a lot in France.
How are movie titles changed when they are released in France?
When a movie titles get translated into another language, they can sometimes get lost in translation.
Like the 1990 movie “Home Alone” starring Macaulay Culkin whose title was translated into French as “Mommy I Missed My Plane” ( Maman J’ai Raté L’Avion).
What I find even weirder is when a movie title is translated not into a French title for French speaking people but changed into a different English movie title. You would think all titles would be translated into the local Language wouldn’t you? Well they’re not.
Granted, the re-titled English movie title for the French audience is usually short, simple and tend to repeat the same words. For instance the word SEX, CRAZY, TRIP, VERY, and BAD tend to get used quite often in re-titled movies.
The results can be interesting, weird and sometimes inappropriate for English speakers. But hey you be the judge.
Here are just 31 examples of perfectly good movie titles changed into strange, sometimes inappropriate English movie titles for the French movie market.
You won’t believe how many times the word SEX is used to make a new movie title in France.
Yeah sure there is a lot of sex in some movies but there seems to be a lack of ingenuity in coming up with new “English titles” . The word sex gets used just a little too much in my opinion. Why not just re-title the film to a translated version of the English title?
Below are a few examples of the over use of the word sex in Hollywood movie titles for the French audience.
1- No strings attached = Sex Friends
Here is an example of a title where I think adding the word sex to the new title is warranted. The term “no strings attached” is hard to translate to French so it makes sense to change the English title for French speakers to “Sex Friends”. The French understand the word friends and the word sex.
2- What’s your number = Sex list
Really? Sex list? It changes the meaning of the entire movie don’t you think?
3- Cruel Intentions= Sexe Intentions
All I have to say is sex sells. But I’m pretty sure they didn’t just have sex in this movie.
4-Fired Up = Sea Sex and Fun
I haven’t watched this movie, but really? Sea, Sex and Fun? They couldn’t come up with something better than this?
5- Step Up 2 = Sexy Dance 2
Here’s another example where the original title is completely understandable to the French audience. It’s like they just want to add the word “SEX” to every title they can.
6-If these walls could talk 2 = Sex revelations
Really? Sex revelations? How did we go from “If these walls could talk 2” to “sex revelations”. It’s as if the person who watched this movie and named it only thought about sex. SHEESH!
7- Made In Dagenham = We Want Sex Equality
This is not an American Hollywood movie, it’s actually a British comedy about car strikes in East London. There was one reference in the movie where the women hold up a sign that say’s “we want sex equality” but the major gist of the movie is about equal pay.
What’s even funnier is in Germany and Italy it was re-titled to “We Want Sex”. They dropped of the “equality” part.
8- The In Crowd = Sex & Manipulations
Is “The in crowd” the same movie as “Sex manipulations”? Yup, you bet it is.
9- Wild Things = Sex Crimes
More sex titles. I already know there is going to be sex in the movie. The title “Wild things” gives me a glimpse into what the film might be about. Whereas the French version of the English title makes me think they are having crimes of sex. Meaning is totally lost.
10- Shortcut to Happiness = Sexy Devil
This one isn’t so bad but the original title does give the movie more depth. Sexy devil just makes me think of a sex crazed woman.
11-Not Another Teen Movie = Sex Academy
one of the rare occasions where I think the French version of the title is actually better than the American title.
12- Judicial Indiscretion = Sex Conpiration
Two words? Stupid Title- sex conspiration?
13-Bad Biology = Sex Addict
I’ve never seen this movie either but bad biology vs sex addict can’t be the same movie can they? Yes they are.
14- Love, Honour & Obey = Gangsters, Sex & Karaoke
LOL? gangsters sex and karaoke?
15- Euro Trip = Sex Trip
What pops into your mind when you hear the the word “Sex trip”? I think of a porn movie but that’s me. What’s strange here is the word “Trip” which is used in the original title is not used even though it is very often used in other cases. (see the next example). As if, they just wanted to change it for the sake of changing it to include the word sex.
16-The Hangover = Very Bad Things
Despite there being an exact translation for the word “hangover” (gueule de bois”, the movie title was changed to “Very bad trip”. My guess is it was changed to this in order to associate it with a 1998 film called “Very Bad Things”. The two movies are not related however the themes are similar. They are both about a bunch of guys who go to Las Vegas before one of them gets married.
I bet the people who rename these films almost renamed this movie “The Sex Trip”. LOL.
17-Date Night = Crazy Night
The literal translation of date night is “rendez-vous amoureux” yet the title which the French know the film “Date Night” by is “Crazy Night”. Crazy is an English word the French understand well.. Look closely at the next movie title which uses the word crazy also.
** French Canadian movie titles for American movies are often but not always different from French titles. For example, “date night” in Quebec is called “Méchante soirée” which can mean anything from “wicked night” to “nasty night”.
18- Train Wreck = Crazy Amy
The English term train wreck translated to French is “catastrophe ferroviaire” but you can’t really say someone’s life is a train wreck in French. Instead, the French movie people decided to call this movie “Crazy Amy”. Crazy is an English word the French understand well.
19-American Hustle = American Bluff
The essence of the word “Hustle” is difficult to translate and convey not only in French but in most language so it only makes sense that another more understandable and meaningful word would be used for the local market. In France’s case, the movie was renamed to “American Bluff”. Bluf is understood by French people.
Here are some other titles that the movie was translated to in other countries
- Isreal: “American Dream”
- Argentina: “American Scandal”
- Portugal: “American Sting”
- Cina: “United States Cheat Bureau” LOL
- Spain: The Great American Swindle
- Turkey: “Trickster”
In Quebec Canada, a French speaking province, American Hustle is given a French title-Arnaque Américaine which means “American scam”.
20- The other Guys = Very Bad Cops
First their was “very bad trip” now there is “Very bad cops” which was released in the US as “The other guys”.
21- Youth in Revolt = Be Bad
Very bad trip”, “Very bad cops” and now “Be bad“. The titles are starting to look a little similar non? ”
22- Get him to the Greek = American Trip
Another English movie title that was changed and uses the word “Trip”, just like the movie “Very bad trip” plus it uses the word “American” like the re-titled movie “American bluff”.
23- All Good Things = Love & Secrets
Not so bad right? NO use of the word sex or bad but there is the word Love and secrets in the title.
24- Killers = Kiss & Kill
25- Coyote Ugly = Coyote Girls
Ok, this makes sense.
26- Pitch Perfect = The Hit Girls
Hit is a word the french understand and it usually refers to music or movies. Like that was a hit.
27- Jewish Connection = Holy Rollers
This could have been kept as the “Jewish connection”. The French understand these terms and besides, it bears a similar resemblance to the “French connection” which despite being an American film is known in France. The word connection is the same in French also. While “Holy Rollers”, is not really a term MOST French people know. WHY?
28- Cool Runnings = Rasta Rocket
29- Knight and Day = Night and Day
Look closely, the French version of the American movie “Knight and Day” was changed to “Night and Day”. Which doesn’t really have the same meaning but I understand why it was changed. The word Knight is not really a word French people will understand. Night is.
30- Anger Management = Self Control
The new title “Self Control” actually works well in my opinion. Good job France!
31- Silver Linings = Happiness Therapy