1. Pretty Woman was originally titled 3000.
The number is in reference to the amount of money Vivian and Edward agreed upon for her week of service. However, the title was later changed to Pretty Woman, after the Roy Orbison song featured in the film. Whew, that was almost a big mistake. Big. HUGE!
2. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was originally titled A Boy’s Life.
This was later changed during production due to E.T.’s insistence on being more heavily featured in the title. Just kidding…he probably wanted to name the film Reese’s Pieces or something (which would’ve been pretty awesome, actually. Who wouldn’t go see that?).
3. Friday the 13th was originally titled Long Night at Camp Blood.
Doesn’t exactly evoke the same chilling effect, does it? Could make for a good Goosebumps title, though!
4. American Pie was originally titled Untitled Teenage Sex Comedy That Can Be Made For Under $10 Million That Most Readers Will Probably Hate But I Think You WIll Love.
Talk about a mouthful. Oddly enough, the name didn’t stick and was later changed to East Great Falls High, then Great Falls, and finally, American Pie. Victory never tasted so
5. Goodfellas was originally titled Wiseguy.
This was the name of the Nicholas Pileggi book upon which the movie was based, however, the title was eventually changed to avoid confusion with the TV series Wiseguy. Good move there, fellas. (See what I did there?)
6. Scream was originally titled Scary Movie.
Evidently, the title was thought to be too comedic for a slasher flick (go figure), so the name was changed. The original title was eventually used to make a parody of the Scream franchise and other popular horror films like it.
7. Hancock was originally titled Tonight, He Comes.
Sounds more like a horror film than a superhero action comedy, right? That’s probably what the writers realized, thus prompting the necessary name change. The movie was later retitled John Hancock, but eventually shifted to just Hancock by the end of production. Probably because Will Smith was sick of people thinking he was just signing his name for an hour and a half.
8. Big was originally titled When I Grow Up.
Granted, this title isn’t as bad as some of the others, but it’s still hard to picture this family classic with any name other than the one we grew to love. Sometimes, all it takes is one word to make a BIG difference.
9. Tomorrow Never Dies was originally titled Tomorrow Never Lies
So what caused this slight title change, you may ask? Believe it or not, it was all thanks to a typo. A marketing department memo switched “dies” in the place of “lies” and everyone liked the mistake title so much they decided to keep it. Yay for typos! Just think of all the possibilities this holds for Autocorrect.
10. Saturday Night Fever was originally titled The Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night.
Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, does it? Thankfully, the title got shortened down to Saturday Night for a while until finally switching over to Saturday Night Fever after The Bee Gees song “Night Fever” got added to the soundtrack.
11. While You Were Sleeping was originally titled Coma Guy.
Any guesses as to what the plot is about? (So there’s this guy, and he’s in a coma…) It’s kinda like a rom-com equivalent to Snakes on a Plane (minus the snakes and plane part, but you get the idea). And hey, wouldn’t it be awesome if Ugly Naked Guy from Friends became roommates with Coma Guy? I think I just created the world’s next greatest spin-off series!
12. Annie Hall was originally titled Anhedonia.
The studio eventually convinced Woody Allen to change the name since they feared no one would know what “Anhedonia” meant. (Remember, they didn’t have Google back then, folks.) Not to mention the fact that it literally means “the inability to feel pleasure”. Not exactly the ideal description for a romantic comedy. So Woody agreed to rename the title after the movie’s central character just 3 weeks before the film’s premiere. La-di-da, indeed.
Other suggested titles were It Had to Be Jew,A Rollercoaster Named Desire, and Me and My Goy.
13. The Invention of Lying was originally titled This Side of the Truth.
I’m not going to lie, I think either of these titles could’ve worked equally well for the movie. They’re basically saying the same exact thing and that’s the truth. (Alright, I’ll stop now).
14. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) was almost titled Headcheese.
Because nothing screams horror quite like the image of a huge head made of cheese.. And now I’m hungry.
15. Tootsie was originally titled Would I Lie To You?
I think we can all agree that title wouldn’t have done the film justice. Luckily, Dustin Hoffman suggested it be changed to Tootsie — the name of his mother’s dog. Creativity can be found in the weirdest of places, folks.
16. Back to the Future was almost titled Spaceman From Pluto.
HUH? Apparently, Universal Pictures head Sid Sheinberg wrote a memo suggesting the “Pluto” name change because he didn’t think anyone would go see a movie with “future” in the title. Steven Spielberg wrote a response memo to Sheinberg later on, thanking him for the hilarious “joke memo” and Sheinberg — too proud to admit he was serious — let the film retain its intended (and much better) title.