M

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Tue, Jan 18, 2022 12:26 AM

Answered

Are most titles with a preceding possessive name valid or just an invalid advertisement?

Following up on another closed thread which @Michelle marked as solved, regarding improper capitalization of the word "the" occurring after a possessive name (where "The" SHOULD be capitalized but the editor won't let it be), I have a different question on such possessive titles. Using the same example title:

Jim Henson's

THE STORYTELLER

where onscreen "The Storyteller" is very large in the center of the screen, and "Jim Henson's" is in smaller type on a separate line above it...

Is the whole thing really a valid Alternate Title (AKA) for IMDb purposes? Or should it even be listed as the Original Title?

More good examples are Disney movies (and TV series and video games), where the original poster showed (for example):

Walt Disney's

THE JUNGLE BOOK

again with "Walt Disney" in smaller type above the title,

or for rereleases, including DVD covers, and even remakes and video games:

Disney's

THE JUNGLE BOOK

where "Disney's" in much smaller, tiny really, above, and in their trademark logo script,

and in many cases ONSCREEN this way as well.

The possessive name would seem to be merely an advertisement, and not part of the title.

Yet I see this frequently on IMDb, and it's proliferating, perhaps getting out of hand. Perhaps all possessive titles should NOT include the possessive part on IMDb, definitely not on the Original Title, and perhaps not as an Alternate Title AKA either.

My thinking is such possessives would be invalid as a title, except in very rare cases. Despite (or contrary to) the guidelines under https://help.imdb.com/article/contribution/titles/title-formatting/G56U5ERK7YY47CQB#

An exception would be if the filmmaker clearly wanted the possessive name to be part of the title, or the film is commonly referred to with the possessive name to avoid confusion with other movies/series with the same title (with no name).

But if the name is only used to advertise (like the frequent "Disney's" I see), it shouldn't be included.

Champion

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4 m ago

This is covered in the same page you linked to.

Possessives

One exception to the "as it appears on screen" rule: Author or filmmaker possessives such as Bram Stoker's Dracula, Disney's The Kid, or Andy Warhol's Flesh are used only in alternate titles with the attribute (complete title) unless it is a part of the joke i.e. Jane Austen's Mafia! or Monty Python's Flying Circus. Note that by the time The Meaning of Life and Life of Brian were released the group had adopted the name "Monty Python" qualifying both as possessives. However, in certain cases, where the possessive helps to identify an otherwise ambiguous title, we will allow the possessive title to be added as the (imdb display title) as opposed to the otherwise (complete title). This should only be submitted as the (imdb display title) if the possessive title is how the title is commonly referred to in that specific country.

Mvybuf

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@Peter_pbn

My question is not covered at all. I said despite those guidelines. Are you agreeing or disagreeing with my suggestion that possessives have no place in a title on IMDb as they are merely advertisements? (Not counting the rare exceptions mentioned in the guidelines.) Refer to my examples.

Champion

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Mvybuf: I would say that based on the guidelines, most titles that include possessive names should not have those possessive names included in the main title, but should have the possessive name included as an alternate title.

To take your first example, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092383/ is currently listed as "The Storyteller" (1987) for its official IMDb title. "Jim Henson's The Storyteller" is listed as an alternate title. That is correct according to the guidelines.

If some main titles on IMDb incorrectly include possessives, then those titles ought to be corrected and the possessive version should be added to the Alternate Titles section instead.

However, I would not apply the guideline where doing so would produce seemingly absurd results. For example, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0353049/ does not -- and should not -- have the official IMDb title "Show" (2003). The official IMDb title of that series is "Chappelle's Show" (2003), and it should stay that way notwithstanding the inclusion of the possessive in the title.

(edited)

Champion

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@Mvybuf​ 

If the name is included on screen, it certainly has a place in IMDb, but in most cases only in the alternate title section. This is clear from the quoted guideline.

You also mention titles on posters or covers. These can probably also be included as alternate titles with a relevant attribute.

I understand you would like IMDb to include fewer of these titles, which you are of course free to suggest, though I don't think your suggested rules are very clear. I don't see why a title on screen would be considered an advertisement.

In spite of the guidelines, IMDb has included the possessive in Zack Snyder's Justice League in the original title.