Fun with Definite Articles
In June 2001, “The Fast and The Furious” opened and wound up making $144 million domestic, $62 million international. It went through several sequels before returning this March with the original cast and the orginal name, sans definite articles (“Fast and Furious”), and wound up making, thus far, $155 million domestic and $187 million international.
In March 2000, “Final Destination” opened and wound up making $53 million domestic, $59 million foreign. It went through several sequels before returning last week with the original name, plus definite article (“The Final Desination”), and has wound up making, thus far, $33 million.
It’s still too early to tell whether movie audiences are completely turned off by the definite article. Adjust for inflation, for example, and “The Fast and the Furious” did better domestically than its article-less sequel.
I’m just saying what a boon to sequelmakers—which is pretty much everyone now. You no longer have to bother with cumbersome roman numerals (“Halloween II”), Arabic numerals (“The Pink Panther 2”) or subtitles (“Revenge of the Fallen”). You no longer have to wring your hands over adding “part” or “episode” or what have you. If only George Lucas had been this innovative! Instead of “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace,” which is a mouthful in any language, we could’ve gone to see “The Star Wars.” Sure, it would’ve led to some confusing Abbott-and-Costello-like conversations:
“Have you seen ‘The Star Wars’?”
“You mean the ‘Star Wars’?”
But then it already did:
“What’s your favorite ‘Star Wars’?”
“Probably the first ‘Star Wars.’”
“You mean the first episode of ‘Star Wars’?”
“I mean the first one chronologically.”
“Chronologically in our time or their time?”
“The first fucking ‘Star Wars,’ alright?”
Me, I can’t wait for the following definite-article-less sequels:
- “Gone with Wind”
- “Raiders of Lost Ark”
- “Passion of Christ”
- “Lord of Rings: Return of King”
- “The Gone with the Wind”
- “The Star Trek”
- “The Angels and the Demons”
- “The The Godfather”
It’s all so easy now.
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