Moana

Screengrab via Disney Animation Studio/YouTube (CC-BY)

BTW

Changing American movie titles for overseas releases is not a new practice. (See China’s awkward translation of Boogie Nights to His Powerful Device Makes Him Famous.) But it seems Disney recently switched up the name of its upcoming animated film Moana for a reason rarely heard of: The title is synonymous with a popular porn star there. 

Though Italian adult film star Moana Pozzi died in 1994, she is still widely known throughout Italy—she became a TV personality, got into politics, and even ran for mayor of Rome. In other words, she also has a large web presence. 

Moana Pozzi

Moana Pozzi Photo by Mauro Biuzzi/WikiMedia Commons

Though Disney will not confirm she is the reason for Moana’s name change, others are citing that parents feared she’d come up in their children’s searches for the movie. 

“There are two very simple reasons for the title change,” an anonymous Italian marketing expert told Variety. “One is that if you type ‘Moana’ and do a Google search in Italy you risk coming up with porn videos. And it’s very expensive and a waste of money to try and change that.”

The other, he said, is that focus groups would make the same association. 

At least Oceania is still a relevant title. It could have been something much more uncomfortable, like these Moana Halloween costumes




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