Even if your finished product has lots of artistic merit, most Porsche dealerships don't take artistic merit. So, when financiers decide a movie hasn't been -- or won't be -- popular enough, they might call for a rebrand. And if that means audiences don't get what they bargained for in a film, what are those suckers gonna do? Grow cynical about Hollywood? Slowly stop seeing movies in the theater? Turn to piracy? We'd like to see that!

Six Degrees Of Separation: It's Just Like Fresh Prince!

Six Degrees Of Separation is a 1993 drama adapted from a Pulitzer Prize-nominated hit of the New York theatre scene. It was written by John Guare, who based it on the true story of his wealthy New York socialite friends getting taken in by a con artist. It has everything you'd expect from a high-society New York drama: intrigue, betrayal, forbidden homosexual encounters, and...


Will Smith? Okay, okay, it's not so crazy now. But this was one of his first "real" acting roles, and it was a risky move at the time.

But the takeaway star of the film was Stockard Channing, who originated the role on Broadway. It's a complex, meaty role that requires serious acting chops, as a woman is forced to question her assumptions about class, society, and her connection to her fellow man. For her efforts, she was nominated for an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and a Tony.

You know what doesn't put asses in seats? Prestige.

After the Rebranding:


"You can't sit on a car like that! It'll ruin society!"

MGM tried to make it look like Will Smith was bringing some funky fresh realness to the crusty-ass Upper East Side. The studios tried their damnedest to market Six Degrees as a goofy, fish-out-of-water story about some rich people who take in a charismatic young man from the streets. Sound familiar? For anyone who primarily knew Will Smith from The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, it sounded like the exact same premise, only with 90 percent fewer black people. They wanted to trick audiences into thinking it was the kind of movie where a stuffy rich dude learns to breakdance, not the kind of movie that breaks down the hidden caste society of America.

Near Dark: The Next Twilight-style Romance

Near Dark is a 1987 vampire film, from the bad old days when vampires ate your face in an unromantic way. Basically it's a few hours of Bill Paxton and Lance Henriksen murdering their way through a sleazy bar.


Like From Dusk Till Dawn: White Trash Edition.

It's a gory, brutal run full of blood, gratuitous violence, and the glorious madness that was Bill Paxton.


Did we mention the blood?

After the Rebranding:


And according to this DVD cover, it's the next installment of the Twilight franchise.

Summit Entertainment

Can you copyright a shitty vibe?

Pale-skinned broody boy vampire, innocent girl human, their forbidden love -- you know the drill. This updated cover could not be further, atmospherically speaking, from the movie itself. We can't help but picture hormonal, tween Twilight fans grabbing the movie in search of their next romantic monster fix, only to find Bill Motherfucking Paxton's crazy, people-eating grin...


When you think "sexy" and "vampire" you may as well be saying "Bill Paxton."

And Lance Henriksen's weathered mullet.


If you look directly into it, you can see how you'll die.

The Secret Of NIMH Is A Fun Romp For Children Of All Ages!

The Secret Of NIMH is a classic animated film based on nightmarish rodent population research.

MGM/UA Entertainment Company

It's got tons of cute talking animals... and the terrifying experiments preformed on them.

MGM/UA Entertainment Company

"You're not going to like where this needle is going."

...And their duels to the death.

MGM/UA Entertainment Company

"You're not going to like where this sword is going."

...And their encounters with a creepy owl that will scar any children witnessing it for life.

MGM/UA Entertainment Company

It's that same son of a bitch owl we all hated from Ocarina Of Time.

It was a dark and complex film, more Watership Down than Rescue Rangers.

After the Rebranding:

MGM/UA Entertainment Company

"Look, I was hungry when I wrote that blurb." -- Rex Reed

Well, that looks like a wacky good time! The DVD release of NIMH really pushed it as a movie about a family of friendly mice and a goofy crow who go around having adventures. Now, there was a crow in the movie for comedic relief, and there was a family, and we suppose if "trying to move your home so your sick child doesn't get caught in the farmer's thresher" counts as an adventure, we guess it had that, too. But it's all about tone, and any parent renting the film based on that bright, cartoony charm-fest of a cover up there is in for a surprise when, after watching, their kids can only ask "Mommy, what's LSD?"

Big Fan Is Just A Feel-Good Sports Flick

Big Fan is a dark comedy starring Patton Oswalt as an obsessive, misanthropic New York Giants fan who alienates everyone in his life.

First Independent Pictures

So the average Jets fan actually.

And when we say, "dark," we mean "a descent into madness and obsession from the guy who wrote The Wrestler." It's a good flick, and funny in its way. It's just that that "way" is more Requiem For A Dream than Paul Blart: Mall Cop.

After the Rebranding:

First Independent Pictures

They used the only scene in the movie where his character is kind of smiling.

That cover makes Big Fan look like everything that it isn't: a bright and sunny film full of football action, in which Oswalt finds his spirits uplifted by the team he loves. There's absolutely no footage of football in the movie at all. It's kind of one of the points of the story: It's not about the sport, it's about obsession.

First Independent Pictures

Like how obsessed we are with never wanting to see Patton Oswalt look this sad.

But that dark, poetic take on the nature of fandom didn't stop the studios from slapping some stock sports photo on the DVD cover, picking the one frame where Patton looks like Rudy, and hoping audiences interpret that one scene where Oswalt sadly jerks off into a sock as base physical comedy.

The Van Is A Danny DeVito Vehicle You Don't Wanna Get In

The Van is a 1977 sex comedy that came out when "vansploitation" was a real and viable genre of film that captured the nation's imagination for some reason.

Crown International Pictures

Honestly, this is the best possible outcome when involving the words "van" and "sex."

If it has a plot at all, it can be summed up thusly: Teens try to have sex with each other, a van is around, and Danny DeVito plays a minor character. It's basically half-assed softcore porn, and that's somehow much more offensive than regular porn. It's Porky's, but in a van! Sometimes!

Crown International Pictures

"Can't spell 'Fun-Truckin' without 'fuckin'!"

Just look at this. You can practically hear the slide whistle.

After the Rebranding:

Crown International Pictures

Somehow the "we filmed a van" genre failed to make its mark on history, so whichever poor soul paid $1.50 and a gas station sandwich for the home-video rights to The Van had to do some creative rebranding. Strangely, they went for more of a The Hills Have Eyes vibe.

The new cover has so little faith in the original movie that not only is Danny DeVito's head blocking all the actual major characters, it isn't even Danny DeVito as he appears in the film. On the new cover is Danny DeVito as we best recognize him today, but The Van is from 1977. This was Danny DeVito back then:

Crown International Pictures

Looking stud-- looking handso-- looking young. Looking very young.

So they picked a bit character in the film who just happened to find eventual success, ripped a still from one of his movies filmed decades later, and then tinted the whole thing "kill you orange." If somebody was grabbing The Van based on that leering, horror-toned cover, they probably weren't hoping for some chuckles and light masturbation material. Unless it was Danzig. And he was almost certainly disappointed with what he got.

Nathan Kamal lives in Oregon and writes there. He co-founded Asymmetry Fiction for all your fiction needs.

Also check out 5 Superheroes Rendered Ridiculous By Gritty Reboots and If Every Kids' Show Got A Gritty Live-Action Reboot.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and check out The Archie Comics Sex Reboot No One Asked For, and other videos you won't see on the site!

Follow us on Facebook, and we'll follow you everywhere.

Join the Cracked Movie Club

Expand your movie and TV brain--get the weekly Cracked Movie Club newsletter!


Forgot Password?