Sony Pictures’ upcoming sequel to 2011’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has undergone a significant title change. The Girl in the Spider’s Web is no more. Long live the The Girl in the Spider’s Web: A New Dragon Tattoo Story, the cumbersome title that now appears in Sony’s official publicity materials.
The short black hair, biker jacket, and large dragon tattoo that Claire Foy sports in images released for the film, based on Stieg Larsson’s book series, were apparently not enough to signal that we’re being treated to a new “Dragon Tattoo” story, so Sony renamed it with this monstrosity of a title.
It’s 11 words! Poems on Instagram are shorter than that. Each sentence in this paragraph is shorter than that title. It’s a word labyrinth from which many don’t return. Some, we’re told, don’t even make it past “Web.” They see the colon, and turn back for home.
The Tattoo in the Dragon’s Web: A New Spider Girl Story has plenty of recent company. As Hollywood churns out sequel after sequel, reboot after reboot, the names of movies are getting longer and more convoluted, and colon use is rampant. Movie distributors are altering titles to make it abundantly clear which franchise a new film belongs to. And with so much marketing now done online, some of these changes are made with search engine optimization in mind (an impetus with which we journalists can commiserate).
Soldado became Sicario 2, which became Sicario 2: Soldado, which became Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado. There’s Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (the latter two are sequels of new franchises that themselves are reboots of older franchises that exist in the same “cinematic universe”). Don’t even get us started on The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 and Part 2. For the love of God, only one punctuation mark per title, please.
And of course, who could forget the “A Star Wars Story” spinoff films, Solo and Rogue One (Solo: A Star Wars Story and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) which surely inspired Sony to create its own “A Dragon Tattoo Story” tag.
Don’t be surprised to see more of these story ownership tags on the end of new film titles to make sure that no one ever, ever forgets that they’re watching a sequel.