Are titles more than a marketing tool? They certainly can be that thing that encourages the desire, and the fond memory, the element that represents the art & the ambition, as well as being the reminder of the thing you want. Titles can tell us that the movie is distinct and worth our consideration (The Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind) or warn us that we may not be the correct audience for it (Blood _______). Good titles grow richer once we see the movie (The Ice Storm) and can move from seeming initially generic into some sort of deeper resonance (as Ang's movie did). The industry's holy grail is often seen as the title that gives you a clear idea of both the tone and content or concept of the film (The Forty Year Old Virgin). Some subjects demand to be put in the title (weddings, food, chocolate, blood) because they are the things that audiences love most. Life's big subjects get more than their fair share of attention (death, sex, love, power).
Sometimes though it seems as if who's ever picking the titles deliberately tries to confuse, selecting something that runs pretty close to a suitable title for a much different genre (i.e. porn). There are those titles that are trying to fit in (to the marketplace) and those that wave their flag to claim how distinct (in the marketplace) they are.
Marketplaces mature and audiences grow more sophisticated. Netflix has said that the longer a subscriber belongs to their service, the more their taste gravitates to the auteurs. It should be no surprise then that new platforms, with their new audiences, often start repeating prior platforms' formulas. It's been said that in the heyday of VHS anything with a sex or violence title or image on the box would sell. Sure enough, I've been told it is similar on VOD titles: sex, drugs, and local crime are the top forms, beaten only by those with the letter "A".
Yet sitting around with buds and beer often seem to net a bumper crop for next year's slate:
Children, Kill Your Parents
Death By Chocolate
Hell: The Movie
I'm With Stupid
Intestines, My Love!
The Incredibly Strange Rituals Of The Undead Leather Witches From Hell
My Boss Is A Fool
Wham! Bam! Pow!
Work Sucks. Let's Party!
#!&*@! (The Unspeakable)
;-) Maybe if we brainstorm and put all the insane titles out there, we can kill the movies before they get made. And then instead, we can turn our attention to the content first -- which is how I have always approached it, for better or for worst. It takes me back to that David Puttnam line that Carl Bressler FB'd to me the other day, and I retweeted yesterday: ""Answer this: Am I in it for the story or the money? Your honest response will determine your entire trajectory in show business".