Inside Move: Tentpole: The rise of subtitles

B'busters busting marquee bounds

Whoever said you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression obviously hasn’t been to the movies lately.

Most of this summer’s major blockbusters sport a subtitle. It’s as if George Lucas or J.R.R. Tolkien got final cut at marketing meetings all over town.

The marquee-stretching roll call includes “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle”; “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines”; “Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde”; “Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas”; and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl.”

The colon-oscopies continue in late summer with “Spy Kids 3D: Game Over” and “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.”

Adding a component to a title is a bid to confer gravitas and event status, say studio marketers. Plus it can add punch to a months-long campaign, as was the case for Fox, when it unveiled “X-Men United” as its subtitle on “X2.”

Taking the long view, Francis Ford Coppola may have helped ushered in this era with “The Godfather Part II,” which lead to a proliferation of simple numbering for Hollywood’s sequels.

But tired of the numerology and seeking franchise-worthy monikers, studios have lately been encouraged by the success of “Harry Potter” and “Lord of the Rings” and their chapter-like subtitles.

It’s a good thing “Jaws” didn’t come out in this century. It might have been known as “Jaws: Plumbing the Depths.”

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