35 years ago Taylor Hackford‘s remake of Jacques Tourneur‘s Out of the Past was retitled Against All Odds — a classic Hollywood dumb-down move. The thinking was “why confuse audiences with a spooky-sounding title about dark, enveloping fate when you can sell an alternate that might refer to a tough football game or some kind of mission impossible?”
What was so bad about the Many Saints title? It had a ring. Newark sounds like it’s another Detroit, right?
The Warner Bros. execs behind the title change probably tested The Many Saints of Newark with a focus group, and the group probably expressed confusion or irritation. “What kind of saints?” “I don’t get it.” “Is this about a football team?” “Whoever heard of saints residing in Newark?”
Let’s revise some titles of some famous Sopranos episodes with the same reductionist approach. I Dream of Jeannie Cusamano is now Jeannie. The Knight in White Satin Armor is now called Armor. Pine Barrens will henceforth be known as Fucking Freezin’ Out Here. Long Term Parking will hereafter be called She Dies.