Some filmmakers spend literally years trying to think of a movie title that will strike the right balance between "this doesn't sound completely stupid" and "this will make me filthy rich." It may not always look like it, but there's a lot of effort, a lot of money, and a lot of hard drinking behind even the simplest of movie titles ... all of which goes out the window once that movie ships overseas and needs to make sense in another language.
As we've shown you before, translating titles isn't as easy as it looks, since they so often contain some idiom or pun that would be complete nonsense directly translated in another language (and, as you'll see, this works both ways). It forces distributors to get creative, and sometimes the results are amazing:
9Die Hard With a Vengeance in Denmark: Die Hard: Mega Hard
20th Century Fox
John McClane (Bruce Willis), the unluckiest cop in America, teams up with the awesomely named Zeus Carver (Samuel L. Jackson) to fuck up New York City as they are terrorized by the brother of a guy John killed two movies ago. Die Hard With a Vengeance is kind of a nonsensical title on its own, but at least we can tell what they were thinking when they chose it: it's about the villain seeking vengeance on McClane, and McClane seeking vengeance on anyone and everyone with a foreign accent.
The Foreign Title: Die Hard: Mega Hard
Yes, the Danish went with an English title, and while we were planning to make fun of these, we're not sure Mega Hard isn't an improvement. It certainly isn't any dumber than Die Hard 2: Die Harder. In fact, Denmark deserves credit for trying to think of a logical continuation to that phrase, if only for the sake of consistency. "But Mega Hard makes it sound like they're talking about his boner!" Hey, you could say that about all of them.
20th Century Fox
Followed by Live Free or Die Hardest and A Good Day to Oh Shit I Swear This Never Happens, Gimme a Minute.
All we know is that, when we die, we hope at least one person stands over our smoldering, bullet-riddled corpse and says, "That son of a bitch died hard. Mega hard."
8Guardians of the Galaxy in Taiwan: Interplanetary Unusual Attacking Team
Even though no one knew who the hell these guys were before this year, Guardians of the Galaxy was always a pretty good, self-explanatory title. The galaxy: they guard it. See, that's why Marvel makes the big bucks -- if you name your superhero movie something vague like Steel or The Spirit it's probably gonna flop, but anyone can get behind a clear concept like "a man of iron" or "the captain of all the Americans."
This also might have helped move a few tickets.
Superhero movies are already pretty confusing, so really, it's just common sense to keep the titles as simple as possible.
The Foreign Title: Interplanetary Unusual Attacking Team
... unless you're in Taiwan, where the simplest they could make it was apparently Interplanetary Unusual Attacking Team. You know, as opposed to all those regular Interplanetary Attacking Teams that you see every day. Either the Taiwanese version has an extra scene where the Guardians' spaceships combine into a giant robot and they go stomping on a cardboard city, or the translator was having an aneurysm when he typed that phrase.
Originally, the Internet pinned this title on China, but some pointed out that the poster is actually from Taiwan (to which the Internet replied, "Isn't that the same thing?"). The Chinese version has its own problems, though -- the subtitles were so ineptly translated that they achieved the remarkable feat of making this movie unlikeable. One example:
No one is immune to Star Lord's ass sorcery.
And while we're on the subject of China and asses ...